Tenacity Sports started with a simple mission — to foster and empower local sports communities. The year-old company got off the ground by managing flag football, dodgeball and basketball tournaments and leagues.
Now, the Seattle startup, led by friends Jon Tam and Don Le, is using that experience to move in a new direction with the launch of an online service called Gametiime. Still operating as a business under the Tenacity Sports moniker, the change of course represents a big move by the entrepreneurs, with a full launch of Gametiime expected later this year.
We caught up with Tam to find out about the pivot, and to learn more about what Gametiime will offer.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Gametiime allows you to discover sports activities, find pictures and information about those activities, and share them with friends — all in one place.”
Inspiration hit us when: “We experienced the challenges of getting people to participate in our events as an early-stage event management company, as well as the friction associated with getting people together to participate in sports activities. This inspired us to begin developing Gametiime to (1) help empower awareness and participation in upcoming events and (2) streamline the process for more easily gathering others to join in.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap. We have been fortunate and deliberate in our paths to starting Gametiime. Financially, it was a several year plan to get to the starting line, so we are bootstrapping as we continuously refine our search for a repeatable and scalable business model. We will likely be looking for funding when the timing is right.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We have a killer team. Don and I come from diverse backgrounds, software development and consulting, respectively. He has developed multi-million user applications for Amazon and I have led consulting projects at dozens of companies across the country. We look at things very differently but have a tremendous amount of respect for one another’s abilities.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Learning to utilize our greatest competitive advantage as a startup company – agility. From our customer acquisition strategy to product design to product development, we work to create for speed and validate assumptions based on measured feedback quicker than we ever did in the past.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Spending too much time trying to develop the perfect product and not enough time raising awareness about it and acquiring customers.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Tough question; we have a tremendous amount of respect for all of them. At this point, we’ll take the Zuck. With our product having so much emphasis on community-building and socialization, we think he could bring the most value to the table at this stage of the game.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “We are showing significant traction from the event provider and event participant sides, and have both sides seamlessly contributing content to help build a thriving ecosystem.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We have a strong understanding of the behavior and intent of those looking to participate in sports activities, first-hand knowledge of the challenges associated with being an event management company, and the ability to create something that innovatively addresses these needs.”
We are truly unique because: “We have a deep-rooted passion for sports, dedication to creating an amazing customer experience, and are solving our own problems. We have youthful tenacity and relentlessness, but are also coming from careers as seasoned, experienced managers.
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Being honest with ourselves and committing to pivoting our business.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Be bold, be willing to make mistakes, and take each one as a learning experience. Be selective in who you hire, with whom you partner, and where you focus. Your time is your most valuable asset, so don’t waste it on things that don’t matter.”
Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send photos of the founder(s) and company logo to email@example.com. Past profiles can be found here.