As a father and coach, Steve Goldman experienced first-hand the pains of getting youth sports teams organized. And as a techie, he knew there had to be a better way.
Goldman founded Korrio in 2009 to solve that problem, creating an online service that helps coaches, players and family members stay organized using modern-day technologies. (Think Web-based calendars, team discussion walls and player profile pages, as well as registration, team formation and scheduling systems).
“Our mission is to transform the sports experience and elevate the level at which sports are played by automating the things that get in the way,” said Goldman in a message introducing the site.
Building a social networking service for youth sports is a far cry from Goldman’s past experiences where he served as CEO of Isilon Systems and senior vice president of F5 Networks — two of Seattle’s better known tech infrastructure companies.
Korrio isn’t quite as big, with just 26 employees. But Goldman will tell you why he thinks there’s a big opportunity in bringing youth sports into the 21st century, questions we asked in our latest installment of Startup Spotlight.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Korrio is an integrated cloud-based platform providing tools to run youth sports organizations combined with a social network for players, parents and coaches to manage and share their sports life.”
Inspiration hit us when: “As a volunteer coach for my kids’ sports teams, I grew frustrated that no one had applied modern technology to the youth sports experience and knew there had to be a better way.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We raised some early seed money from angels like Martin Coles (former COO Starbucks, CEO Reebok, and Nike exec), who brought a wealth of sports marketing experience. Later we raised money from Ignition Partners, led by John Connors (former Microsoft CFO and Nike Board member).”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our team is made up of passionate people who are fans, parents, players and coaches who love sports. We translate that passion into everything we do at Korrio.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “The people we’ve hired have made all the difference, especially our leadership team which has us uniquely positioned to start 2012.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Not starting our mobile web and app products sooner.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. When you look at Amazon with both consumer and enterprise/cloud businesses — we’re hosted on AWS — they are a great example as we support both sports clubs and parents, players and teams. Jeff’s leadership, focus on strategy, and execution is something we look to regularly.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “You can say it’s already started, but it will really kick in this year as we roll out our new versions and expand into sports beyond soccer.”
Rivals should fear us because: “Because of the team we’ve put together we’re able to combine the best thinking in sports management with the latest web technologies.”
We are truly unique because: “Korrio is the only company in this market that’s trying to serve both the consumer with communication and social sharing features as well as the enterprise with a registration, reporting, payment, scheduling and management platform.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Avoiding the great smell from Macrina Bakery SODO as we walk into the office every day (our office is directly over the bakery).”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Besides not getting an office over a bakery, I’d say it’s all about the people you surround yourself with. Every advisor, investor and employee makes an impact on a startup’s culture. You build the kind of company you want out of the people you bring into it.”