Interview with Megan Lanham, CEO

Rithmm: "We offer all the tools a bettor needs to get their picks in an easy, intuitive way"

Megan Lanham, CEO and Co-Founder of Rithmm
2023-11-30
Reading time 6:18 min

Rithmm is a Boston-based startup specializing in AI-driven sports betting technology, officially launched earlier this year. What sets the platform apart is that it offers all the tools “a bettor needs to get their picks in an easy, intuitive way," according to its management.

The platform notes that, unlike its competitors, it does not sell prefabricated picks or touts success, instead focusing on giving its users some of the same tools that professional bettors use. Its features also aim to empower bettors in their decision-making process, elevating their financial outcomes. 

In an exclusive interview with Yogonet, Rithmm CEO Megan Lanham details how the platform works, its simplified UI for bettors, recently added tools on the platform and the company’s plans for the near future. 

How did the idea of the startup begin?

The idea of Rithmm came to me when I was at business school at MIT taking a class called Data, Models, and Decisions and we were learning predictive modeling techniques to apply to our businesses. During one class, I started thinking about how this applied to sports betting and started researching who was using predictive analytics to make their betting decisions. 

It was professional sports bettors known as Sharp - they hired a team of quants, data scientists, and engineers to provide this level of quantitative analysis. If you were not a Sharp, the way you make betting decisions fell into a few buckets; go with your gut, ask your friends 'who they have tonight', or do endless amounts of research. 

If you have some statistical and mathematical training, some bettors were scraping the internet for data and then running modeling, however, that is incredibly time-consuming and has data limitations. I wanted to solve this issue and give bettors access to what the pros use in a digestible and intuitive manner.

Following a year of beta testing, Rithmm officially launched in 2023. How is Rithmm different from other sports betting services and what features and products does it currently offer to its users?

Rithmm is where bettors go to get data-backed picks. What separates us from our competition is that we are not selling prefabricated picks or touting success. Instead, we are giving our users some of the same tools that professional bettors use.  

We hide the complexity on the backend and give the user an extremely simplified approach. We remove the barriers of leveraging data to make smarter bets, and have shrunk all the features down to 'give me the best pick for this game based on data.'

In regards to services and features, Rithmm users can build custom models backed by AI and based on their instincts in seconds. Their model then provides an analysis of every game with their recommended pick, predicted win probability, and edge on the market. We currently offer five sports: NFL, CFB, NBA, NCAAM, WNBA, and golf is in development.  

In addition, we offer player adjustments for the NFL which allows users to see the value of players against the spread and then toggle those players in/out to try to see how a potential injury can impact your models' predictions. We provide injury reports, line shopping, model performance, and bet tracking. We are very excited about Player Props for the NFL and NBA which are in development and coming soon. 

Rithmm describes its user interface (UI) as simple, while also offering personalized, immersive betting. What has the reception of bettors to the product been like thus far?

We've built Rithmm to be easy to use for bettors of every skill level. With detailed video overviews and our newly launched AppCues (which provide step-by-step direction as a user goes through the app), we try to make sure that our users have all the tools they need to get the most out of Rithmm.

Users have enjoyed building models in the app and our users frequently share their success on Discord, social media, or even email us directly. We've built a true community of data-driven bettors.

By offering four sports and the ability to track bets within the app, line shop, and even see player values against the spread, we offer all the tools a bettor needs to get their picks in an easy, intuitive way

Rithmm leverages advanced analytics to empower users to make more informed decisions. Can you tell us a bit more about the technology Rithmm employs for its product and how players can take advantage of it?

Many bettors want to make their models or have more control and insight as to why they choose a given bet. However, most people don't have the time or experience to keep the odds and statistics current or build complex statistical models, especially across multiple sports. 

We've automated all that complicated and tedious work created by a quantitative analyst with a Ph.D. in probabilistic methods and a team of computer scientists. We use many years of historical data to build predictive models for both the spread and totals. Each of these predictions is based on separate linear and tree-based models which are ensembled to make a more robust prediction than either does alone.

Our approach is unique in that each user gets a personalized model with a bespoke training set based on their instincts. Additionally, premium users can make their own factors from individual stats, which gets closer to no-code modeling.

Does AI have any role to play here?

We see our work as a core part of the AI revolution. Artificial intelligence uses training data to make a model to enable predictions and actions in a future environment.

Rithmm's models do this exact thing, giving bettors a quick way to evaluate if new lines are mispriced and provide an edge. We see this trend to greater personalization and increased use of predictive analytics to be a growing portion of the economy, including in sports betting in the future.

With the football season in full swing, what are some early takeaways you can share with us in terms of how users interact with Rithmm and their favorite features/offerings? What is the profile of the Rithmm bettor like?

There are two significant insights from our user base. Firstly, we're witnessing a notable increase in sports diversity among our users. Traditionally NFL-centric bettors are now venturing into College Football (CFB) with newfound confidence, driven by the assurance of data-backed decisions provided by Rithmm. 

Secondly, our users express a strong affinity for Rithmm's inclination toward recommending ‘obscure’ games and markets. This feature, highly valued by our community, unveils hidden opportunities by identifying inefficiencies in betting lines.

Users appreciate the sense of unlocking a secret, as Rithmm's insights extend beyond mainstream games, adding an extra layer to their betting experience.

A Rithmm bettor profile encompasses two main categories: those who use the product to alleviate decision fatigue and enhance the entertainment aspect of their bets, and those seeking to optimize their financial performance in sports betting. 

Our user base spans a diverse range, with casual and recreational bettors finding value in our Core tier, while our Premium tier caters to individuals operating at the mid-tier to sharp levels. If you're actively engaged in weekly betting, Rithmm is the ideal app for you. Whether you're looking to streamline your decision-making process or elevate your financial outcomes, our platform is tailored to meet those needs.

The company offers two products, Core and Premium – how does the experience differ between each one?

The experiences of Core and Premium are very different. Premium provides users with access to a library of hundreds of advanced statistics to make their own models. This is for the user who has a clear vision of what statistics they find important and from there Rithmm takes those stats and creates predictive models.  

For Core users, Rithmm has already done this work for them, our data scientists have created pre-fabricated factors such as Offense, Defense, Ranks, Passing, and Running. Behind those factors are stats that our data scientists have deemed as having significant value.  

The user will need to weigh these factors using a slider bar, if you like High Offense and High Passing teams you will slide your factor to the right. Then, Rithmm will create a model for you based on three years of data and will find games where your model presents an edge.
 
Any partnerships or new developments that you could share with us? What does the future of Rithmm look like, and what should we expect in terms of additional sports and leagues joining the current offerings?

We are excited to launch our Player Props for the NFL and NBA. Our player prop features will give bettors even more access to data-backed picks and also allow DFS players to get value out of our platform.

In addition to working on props, we are also currently developing golf functionality for release in early 2024, with NHL and soccer on our roadmap for 2024. 

Last year, we had great success with our March Madness bracket generator beta version so we plan to offer this again in 2024. We had users' models predict UCONN winning along with models that predicted the entire Final Four bracket. This year will be even more fun as we have a year of development and product enhancements under our belt.

As for partnerships, we are speaking with several companies in the space that have a similar mission of helping bettors make smarter decisions. We don't have anything official to announce next but we are excited to share more soon.

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