Thursday September 24, 2015 0 comments
BOULDER -- Participation in high school sports has increased for 25 consecutive years, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Now, with $10 million in new Series B financing lined up, Boulder-based TeamSnap is poised to further tap this burgeoning market with its organizational and communications app.
The idea came about when Dave DuPont, TeamSnap CEO, found himself in a situation in which every sports parent can relate. “My son played on a lacrosse team,” he said. “Being from the technology world, I was kind of surprised at how 'old-school' everything associated with the team was, particularly the communications.”
After attending several disorganized organization meetings, DuPont had one of those 'there's got to be a better way' moments.
At the time he was working in computer peripherals – a career he describes as focusing on the 'plumbing' of the Internet rather than the Internet itself. Looking for advice, DuPont turned to other graduates of his alma mater, the Harvard business school. One contact in particular pointed him toward an app already in the early stages of development.
“So I checked it out and, to make a long story short, I convinced the guys working on that app to help me start this company,” he said.
Having lived in Boulder for the last 15 years, it never occurred to DuPont to locate the firm anywhere else. But now that he's been at this a while, he says he's come to a realization. “Boulder is surprisingly great as a place to grow a business – in the beginning it's just where I happened to be, but subsequently, I've found that there's a tremendous infrastructure in place to help entrepreneurial companies like ours, and we've certainly benefited from it.”
The company has experienced steady growth since launching in 2009. “You hear about startups going through 'near-death' experiences but we've been lucky – we've grown from those early days more than 150 times,” DuPont says.
And that growth has accelerated of late, to the point where it's nearly doubled over the past year alone to about 9 million current users.
All despite a fair amount of competition.
“At the time there were many startups that were trying to do what we're doing, but from the very beginning we had customers that were willing to pay us for a subscription,” says DuPont. “We weren't like a lot of companies that have an idea but need money to even develop that idea. We were past that stage. We were actually generating revenue from day one.”
TeamSnap's app is designed to make life easier for anyone associated with a team – in a nutshell, “Making sure everybody shows up at the right place at the right time with the right stuff,” is how DuPont puts it.
But more than just alerting parents and players to last-minute schedule or location changes, the mobile and online app can also be used to collect registration fees, share photos and videos, and store vital information about individual players.
In addition, the company recently transitioned the app from being just a utility to serving as a broadcast tool by offering a 'live' update capability.
“We now provide an opportunity for folks associated with the team to inform others about what's going on at a game...the score, live chat about the game, things like that,” DuPont says. For example, if a parent was unable to attend their child's baseball game, they could still get real-time updates on things like what's the current inning, who's on base, where the pitch count stands and so on.
TeamSnap also provides administrative capabilities for larger organizations such as clubs or leagues.
The $10 million is being put up by several investors, including Northgate Capital out of California, the Boulder-based Foundry Group, Crawley Ventures and the Colorado Impact Fund.
As the founder and managing partner of Colorado Impact Fund, Jim Kelley says his organization doesn't back just any firm. “We're looking for Colorado companies where the entrepreneur has a product or service that has what we call intentional positive community impact. In addition to providing jobs, they have a product or a service that really improves our communities here in Colorado.”
CIF's share of the financing is $1.5 million.
“What we liked about the app was how it facilitates parent engagement in their kids' extra-curricular activities, whether they're outdoor sports activities or even the debate club, and we think there's a real positive community value there,” Kelly says.
DuPont believes others will see a value to TeamSnap's service as well.
“We have enough information about our users that we can propose relevant products and services for them. You can imagine that apparel and equipment providers for the sports world or media companies might be interested.”
To say nothing of the millions of sports parents whose lives might be made a little easier.