BuzzDraft CEO Bryan Pellegrino: a year after launching a fantasy sports platform

When Doejo client BuzzDraft launched a year ago the online sports fantasy site aimed to offer the most modern user experience platform. Fantasy sports should be exciting and have an engaging attitude not look and feel like an Excel spreadsheet, said its founders, who come from sports betting and entrepreneurial backgrounds.

What started out as professional football and baseball fantasy games, now adds basketball, hockey and golf to its rosters for all proficiency levels to play—with 8,500 total user accounts activated. We caught up with BuzzDraft CEO Bryan Pellegrino to talk new features, memorable milestones and startup lessons learned.

Doejo: It’s been just over a year since launching BuzzDraft, what new features will users find on the site?
Bryan: We’ve added tons of new features throughout the year to make life easier for users. The largest and most important have been the ability to import your lineup from other games, the user-console on the home page, and our new in-game lobby. Users can also look forward to mass-entry as well as a few more cool features coming very soon. 

What features are you most proud of on BuzzDraft?

I think it’s not really a feature that I’m most proud of but more the community itself. We have a really great group of players on the site in chat every day helping new users, talking strategy and just hanging out and I think it’s something that’s very hard to find elsewhere. We have a great and supportive player community that not only helps us with our support and easing in new users, but also helps offer us valuable feedback on direction constantly. 

What feedback have you received in the past year that excites you about BuzzDraft?
On the same token as above we’ve received a ton of amazing feedback on what we’re doing with the site. We may not be the largest site yet but people love what we’re doing and you can see in how they act and respond that they really appreciate the extra mile we go to make sure they have a great user experience on the site. Knowing that people appreciate the team and the product and seeing our users bring in new people all the time is always really exciting for us and the thing that we work for.

Was there a particularly memorial game day for you and users on BuzzDraft?
We recently ran our first large tournament series, the Fall Championship of Fantasy Sports (FCFS) and the Main Events for this were $10,000 and $20,000 guaranteed tournaments for NBA and NFL, seeing these go off and fill was a huge accomplishment for us and great tournament for our users so I think both us and the users would agree that that is the most memorable game day for us so far.

As CEO, what’s something you’ve learned in the past year that you wish you knew from the beginning?
I wish I had known how much I would regret not keeping up with my CS background, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing an issue or a new feature you want to develop and seeing it put in a line of prioritized items and waiting for the dev to be done. I’m someone who spends a huge amount of time with my work and I wish I was able to go out and implement some of this stuff myself a bit more often. It’s something I’m working to get back into every day.

What marketing promotions have generated the most engagement with users?
Our tournament series, the FCFS was definitely the thing that generated the most engagement with our users and excitement around the site in general. We have a really good relationship with our users and are super accessible to them pretty much 24 hours a day so I would say our engagement is really high in general but I think that period of time more than any it was at its peak.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Just continuing to grow and watching us be able to run larger and larger tournaments regularly.

What advice do you have for other young CEOs with digital startups?
Programming and Marketing are 2 things you may think you have people around you for (or your team can handle) but those are 2 things that ALWAYS have a huge demand in a digital startup. Get proficient at both and try to get amazing at one. It will be a very, very hard road if you can’t. 

Read more about this project in our Case Studies here.