Sober Success! Healing Properties Alum Chris Adams (Part 2)
Healing Properties alumnus Chris Adams is a bona fide sober success story. Not only has he been clean for over a decade, but he spent those 10 years getting married, fielding a family, earning two degrees plus launching a start-up, all the while holding down a full-time job.
We ended Part One of our interview just as Chris received his MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business and was in the middle of launching a start-up called SharpRank. As the name makes explicitly clear, the venture’s dedicated to ranking Sharps. Since Sharps are the sports betting oracles every gambler consults when handicapping teams and players, the idea’s more than quite bright. Because the business of sports betting is now booming bigger than ever, it’s also quite timely. In other words, SharpRank is perfectly poised to pounce!
Betting on SharpRank
The MBA isn’t the only thing you came away with from UVA is it? Didn’t the bright idea for SharpRank also come about while you were still at school?
That’s correct. Although the SharpRank idea itself came together with the friend I referenced earlier. However, we also tapped into two of my classmates. Our fifth member was someone I met at Father Martins.
Wanna give us the what’s what about this bright idea?
There is always opportunity that comes out of difficult times. My business partners and I saw such opportunity in the emerging, ever-evolving landscape of sports betting. While listening to sports radio and podcasts, we would hear experts (or “Sharps”) claim to have incredible records at picking games successfully. We started thinking the general public is largely held in the dark with respect to sports betting, especially since experts are self-proclaimed. Attributes of efficient markets are transparency and “full information.” And this particular industry was seemingly lacking both. So while the sports world was completely shut down for six months we went to work creating an algorithm that incorporates metrics like accuracy, consistency, longevity, etc to produce a “Madden” type ratings system to rate these “Sharps” that is both easy to understand and effective at performance ranking.
The scores are normalized so the public can compare “Sharps” who focus on different sports on a level playing field; much like Morningstar does for funds and other securities. SharpRank was created to provide transparency for the general public in a traditionally murky market. The sports gambling industry is booming and our team operates under the premise that “when there is a gold rush, don’t go digging, sell shovels.” Because of this we are now a part of the ecosystem and constantly growing/evolving.
Identifying the Need
Had you already identified the market’s need for such a service?
Yes. We view it a lot like the time before there was third party verification for “stock pickers.” Back then the general public just had to trust a particular “stock picker” was telling the truth. Transparency is always desired in any market or industry. We help that along with a touch of entertainment.
Do you or any of your colleagues have experience in this particular field?
Nothing professionally, but we’ve built an Advisory Board that’s steeped in it. We lean on them a ton for their experience.
How cautious are you being during SharpRank’s initial stages?
All five of us continue to work full-time jobs. And we work on SharpRank in the off hours. For someone like me, with the investment banking hours I maintain, that is either late at night or very early in the morning before the gym. For some of our other team members it’s lunch time. We have hired some interns to help us build out our team and are always looking for talent. We’ve also given ourselves enough runway/cash burn for a couple years but are aiming to go for funding by late summer of 2021. We would greatly appreciate people registering on the site. It’s free and takes only fifteen seconds! www.sharprank.com/register We’d also be really grateful for any and all Instagram and Twitter follows! And please, by all means, feel free to send word around to everyone you know!
One/Three/Five Year Game Plan
Where do you see SharpRank 12 months from now? Three years? Five?
Like I said, we are aiming for funding within the next year. Given the cross sport functionality, we are going to be entering into new markets (sports) and are already building our data set for college and professional basketball. Likewise, we have other upcoming features like allowing users to log their picks and compete in the amateur gold and silver leagues before eventually moving up to one of the star rankings. More long term we see ourselves as the go-to performance rankings system for the general public. We’ve got a lot more features and plans and everyone who registers on the site will get to be a part of SharpRank’s evolution plus have an opportunity to watch it unfold.
And where do you see Chris Adams over those time spans?
Husband and dad of a lot of children. My wife and I both want quite a few kids so we will see how that goes. I also want to be a better son, brother, and friend than I was the day before. November of 2020 will be ten years sober for me so, I’d also like to keep adding on to that. Hopefully, I’ll still operating as the CEO of SharpRank and living on a lot of land in the middle of nowhere (I retained some of that “recluse” behavior in sobriety).
The Healing Properties Difference
Before we go, in what way(s) might Healing Properties have helped prepare you to so successfully address your comeback — at school, at work, with the start-up and/or in your personal life?
Among about a million other things HP helped me with, I’d say diligence and action are among the most important. Find a passion and chase it. HP will help you build the tools to do that.
Might you have an encouraging word or three for other men who are in early stage recovery right now?
Life goes very quickly, so squeeze every moment out of each day. I cannot believe the life I get to live and a large credit for that is due to the strategies and fellowship I picked up at HP. Do the little things right and do them consistently but understand this is a process and it will evolve as your life does. Two things that stuck with me really early on was someone telling me “you can literally do whatever you want in life, you just can’t drink” and “the world is a lot bigger than South Florida.” I took those to heart, and the experiences I’ve been a part of since have been better than anything I imagined.
Thanks eversomuch for doing this, Chris — and again, Congratulations on all your successes!