Former assistant coach of women’s basketball team, sports editor now apart of two successful start-ups
Scott Pisapia ’13 left his position at Lewis & Clark as an assistant women’s basketball coach last spring because of an irresistible offer – being a full-time marketing lead and founding member of the fantasy sports app Phantasia.
Pisapia, who graduated with a degree in communications (now rhetoric & media studies), has always had a passion for marketing. Though he enjoyed coaching at LC, the job was not enough to support his future goal of having a family.
“To be completely frank, I just wasn’t making enough money,” Pisapia said. “I saw a dead end for that career path.”
When he saw a website with job postings for Web3, he was immediately interested. He came across the Phantasia Sports job posting which combined that interest with his love of sports and marketing. He also grew up playing fantasy sports.
“It felt like the perfect job,” Pisapia said. “I was like, okay, I stumbled across this job and (it) checks all three boxes that I’m interested in. I applied and they got back to me within a few hours, and it was off to the races.”
Phantasia is a fantasy sports app that uses blockchain technology to payout its users’ bets. It is hosted on the Solana blockchain and has its own token, FANT, which is currently worth $0.0042, or less than half of a cent. It features both daily fantasy contests and the more traditional league format.
Unlike many of their competitors, Phantasia charges zero fees to its users. Additionally, it offers leagues that have no buy-in, which was a major draw for Pisapia.
“I’m a real big tightwad, so I don’t like spending money,” Pisapia said. “I’m really frugal, but I love playing for free so anytime there’s a free game or if someone would invite me to their league if it was free, I was in, but if that cost money I was out. That’s kind of how I was all the time growing up.”
Phantasia currently hosts fantasy leagues across multiple professional sports leagues, including the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the Premier League. Pisapia is rooting for the Women’s National Basketball Association to be added to the app.
As the marketing lead, Pisapia has two other marketing employees under his supervision. He has used many of the skills he developed from coaching to be a manager.
“We’re all in it together trying to solve one problem,” Pisapia said. “ It feels very similar to coaching, the only difference I would say, is maybe a little bit more collaboration and a little bit less leading.”
Many of the other skills he uses in his day-to-day job he said come from his experiences in his communications classes and working on The Mossy Log, which was The Pioneer Log at that time. Though many of his friends at larger colleges may have gained a wider network, he said the networking skills he developed at LC have made a huge impact.
“They maybe knew more faces on their campus, but I think I went deeper with my relationships,” Pisapia said. “That’s what I’m trying to do at Phantasia. I don’t want to just scratch the surface with the community of people that we’re trying to reach. I want to see if I can go a little bit deeper and make that connection.”
Additionally, Phantasia is not Pisapia’s first experience with start-ups. In fact, he founded his own startup after graduating called Roots Academy, a non-profit based in his hometown of Longview, Wash. The program focuses on coaching youth across four sports, including basketball. He plans to bring Roots Academy to Portland later this year.
The experience of starting his own company fed well into working at another start-up, as he describes working in these positions as “wearing many hats.” Every day looks different and with a small group of employees, constantly adjusting responsibilities is an essential part of a start-up job.
Another experience that prepared him for his job at Phantasia was being hired by a friend who worked in marketing at Nike.
Nick Robinson, who Pisapia befriended at LC before he transferred to Occidental College, was high up in Nike’s marketing team when his friend Davante Adams was drafted into the NFL.
“Nick was really high up at Nike, his friend Davante was going to the NFL, so they kind of came together,” Pisapia said. “We’re doing some projects together like sponsorship deals and different things like that. While I was coaching at Lewis & Clark, Nick hired me on (at) his company.”
Though Pisapia has left these positions, he carries these skills forward in his current role at Phantasia, where he can be continually involved in several of his passions.