Austin-Based Metabet Tabbed As Company To Watch In 2024

Written By Phil West on January 16, 2024
Photo of Metabet logo with two principals on a story on how the Austin based company is one to watch for 2024.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the sports world went on pause, with major events like March Madness and the Champions League soccer tournament leaving a void for bettors. While that would spell trouble for any company connected to sports betting, MetaBet founder and CEO Mark Phillip was able to use the pause to his company’s advantage.

“There were a lot of folks who had gambling on their mind, but it was on the back burner,” Phillip told PlayTexas. “But once sports paused, and they had time to think about ‘What else do we want to work on right now?’ is when things really took off for us.”

The Austin-based company, recently tapped by Earnings & More as one of the 10 companies to watch in the coming year, specializes in what that publication described as “betting tools to help publishers unlock value in their sports coverage, including widgets that can integrate live scores and stats alongside odds information.”

MetaBet says its technology is like ‘an ad that is always going to be live’

MetaBet currently partners with about 40 different entities, including sports media websites, sportsbook operators, performance marketers and betting publishers. Catena Media, the parent company of PlayTexas, is one of those partners.

For a SB Nation reader following the Dallas Cowboys on its Blogging the Boys site, for example, an article on an upcoming playoff matchup might include an ad touting the over/under on star receiver CeeDee Lamb’s receiving yards in that match. That’s thanks to a system MetaBet created that allows relevant information from its betting partners to reach fans who might want to place action on that game, Phillip said.

“On every page, they carve out a little bit of space for us. And our job is just to figure out what is the most exciting and engaging thing to put on.”

What’s more, the content that goes into that little space is dynamic and can change as odds change or an event shifts into the in-play phase once underway, Phillip said.

“You can think about it as an ad that is always going to be live, always gonna be contextual … there are so many editors that write something saying the opening line is minus seven, and as soon as they hit publish, it moves by half a point. The good thing with our tech whether using a widget or using what we call our dynamic odds tool, just inserting a little snippet inside of a bit of prose, we’ll dynamically update that each time the page loads.”

They can also customize content based in part on IP addresses and geolocation, so the ad that someone sees in a state where online sports betting is legal can be different than the one for a viewer in a state that requires a casino visit to place a bet. Or advertising something else entirely in Phillip’s home state, where sports betting in Texas has yet to be legalized.

MetaBet looks to make integration seamless

Since launching in 2019, MetaBet has developed an array of content tools to help content creators and sports betting entities connect. Those include:

  • Intelligent Hyperlinking, which “reads your sports content and automatically inserts live odds that deep-link directly to sportsbooks,” with affiliate tracking parameters automatically included,
  • Express Links, which “allow for deep-linking directly to the bet slip, increasing conversations and audience satisfaction,” rather than “dropping your audience off at a landing page and hoping for the best,”
  • Odds Board and Futures Board, which not only showcase a table of odds available for various sporting events (with just a single line of code), but highlight which sports betting service provides the most advantageous odds,
  • Real-time Odds API, which imports “pre-game, in-play, props, and futures markets from every major US sportsbook” in computer-friendly JSON or XML formats, making them ready for content creators to use.

The company’s chief revenue officer, Barry Golombek, credits Phillip with “building such a clean and easy-to-use API,” adding,

“There are all sorts of different ways that you can sort of apply data … the fact that we’re so prolific with it and the fact that it’s so easy to integrate, it really does open more outside-of-the-box opportunities for us to provide data to folks.

“We do everything on the up and up which provides them with a level of sea of security. You get a lot of people that don’t source this data the right way in our space.”

MetaBet CEO sees recognition as company moving in the right direction

Phillip appreciates the recognition from Earnings & More, noting that it put “pep in his step” when he learned of the acknowledgment. It reinforces his belief that MetaBet is doing things the right way building its reputation.

“We’re the benchmark. I think a lot of other companies are measuring themselves up against us. The fact that we have the customers that we have, and we have competitors popping up and they’re interesting. But the fact that we are profitable, the fact that we are self-funded, that we are stable, that we probably have the best customer service of anyone out there, and we have a really close relationship with all of our customers here.

“You’re talking to the entire company right now. It’s just me and Barry, there’s not a lot of overhead, right? We’re not worried about conflicts of interest or VCs that are breathing down our neck. We are very fortunate that we’re able to build the things that mean the most that are the most valuable to our customers, and are having some fun while we do it.”

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayTexas
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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