New technology from startup ventures is transforming the global sports industry. This Startup Series has introduced over 200 startup companies in the sports technology space to a broader audience by allowing Founders of promising new ventures to tell their story and pitch their idea. Feel free to submit your startup’s answers to the below questions or contact us if you know of a startup that should be considered for inclusion in this series. This particular startup is a part of HYPE Foundation’s “Top 50” Program. HYPE created a global platform which aims to accelerate and invest in sports innovation.
Company name: League Network PBC
Founders: Anne-Sophie & Jay Whitehead
Headquarters: Newark, NJ
1. What is your elevator pitch?
LeagueNetwork.com is where 350,000 leaders of America’s 41,000 youth leagues in 21 team sports raise funds fast, swap-sell-buy stuff safely and locally, and connect for better leagues, better lives. Launching nationwide Q1 2017.
Our Assisted Fundraising app and Captains make raising money easier, faster and cheaper than ever.
Our Neer.com Marketplace app lets leagues, coaches, players and parents swap-buy-sell safely and locally for free.
It’s all backed by League Network media, where 350,000 leaders of America’s 41,000 youth leagues in 21 team sports connect everyday online, quarterly in print and at the annual conference.
League Network was founded by 15-year youth league leader Anne-Sophie Whitehead and media and tech entrepreneur Jay Whitehead.
2. Problem & Solution
Problem and solution 1: Until League Network’s Assisted Fundraising app and Captains, there was no one place for leagues, teams and tournaments to easily raise $1,000 to $50,000+ under 3 weeks. Every year leagues face budget shortfalls of $1.2 billion.
Problem and solution 2: Until League Network’s Neer.com Marketplace, there was no app for leagues, coaches, players and parents to swap-buy-sell safely and locally for free. Each year families spend as much as $40 billion on costs related to youth sports.
Problem and solution 3: Until League Network, there was no everyday online media, quarterly magazine and annual conference where 350,000 youth league leaders (most of whom are volunteers) learn best practices, connect with 41,000 other leagues in 21 sports, and shop the 22 products and services leagues buy. Each year league leaders spend $11 billion on behalf of their league.
3. Market – your target market and the overall market
America’s pro, college, high school, and adult fitness organizations are run by trained professionals. Youth sports leagues are run primarily by untrained and under-resourced volunteers—350,000 parents run 41,000 leagues in 21 team sports who represent 32 million youth athletes. Under-resourcing has led to calamities for many communities’ youth leagues. Youth sports leagues spend $11B directly, and youth sports families indirectly spend another $40B. Since 2009, while organized youth sports participation is growing, over 1,100 youth league managers have gone to jail, volunteers fear getting involved, and youth sports injuries are up. League Network’s Media-Money-Marketplace platform aims to bring professional-grade resources to youth sports—best practice and buying guides, fundraising help, and free support for swapping, buying and selling safely and locally.
4. Business Model – how do you make money?
League Network Assisted Fundraising earns a small fee, most often 10% to 15%, on funds raised.
League Network’s Neer.com Marketplace app is free for swapping, and earns payment platform or affiliate seller commissions on paid transactions.
League Network’s media is free to users, supported by ads.
5. Management Team – with titles
Anne-Sophie Whitehead—Founder and COO
Jay Whitehead – Co-Founder and CEO
Erik Adamonis – Digital Marketing Manager
6. What else do you want the audience to know about your venture?
League Network’s motto is Better Leagues, Better Lives™. We’ve discovered that communities with youth sports leagues with average trustee tenure of 5+ years have higher high school graduation rates and lower youth crime rates, regardless of socioeconomic status. League Network PBC is a Public Benefit Corporation, which means we must regularly report our social impact (i.e., funds raised for youth leagues), and we are a socially-responsible registered B-corp.
Our outside investors include athletes such as NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and former SF 49er John Faylor, VCs such as James Lincoln (Illuminated Funds), Silicon Valley tech leaders such as Jay Fulcher (Oracle/Peoplesoft, SAP, Hot Chalk, Ooyala) and Issac Vaughn (Wilson Sonsini, Ooyala) and corporate leaders such as Rich Adamonis (CMO at NYSE).
If you’re an investor, startup founder or influencer, we recommend you check out ProInfluence, a platform that is uniting sports entrepreneurs and leaders to form mutually beneficial business partnerships.