CoachMePlus, a Web-based software application aimed at helping coaches and trainers organize data they collect about their athletes, has reached a milestone of sorts, raising $1 million from investors.
The start-up is based at Z80 Labs, a technology incubator in downtown Buffalo that supports a number of companies hoping to make breakthroughs. Z80 provided $400,000 to CoachMePlus from the Innovate New York program; about half of the rest of the $1 million came from local investors; and the remainder was primarily from investors in the New York City area, said Teo Balbach, chief executive officer of CoachMePlus. “Raising money for a small company in this town is very difficult, particularly for a technology-oriented company,” Balbach said.
“We had to prove that we were beyond just an idea,” said Kevin Dawidowicz, the president.
CoachMePlus pitches its application as a way for coaches and trainers to consolidate data about their athletes gathered from various sources into a single, manageable platform. “The explosion of sports science data in the market is just continuously increasing,” Dawidowicz said. “There’s new data coming in from all over the place. We centralize that information.”
Balbach said CoachMePlus is a solution for coaches who are buried under a blizzard of information. “They know the information’s valuable, but they can’t harness it any way to make what we call an organizational-level decision, about whether we should play this guy today or should we sit him,” he said.
Among the customers using the application are the Buffalo Sabres, the Philadelphia Eagles and the University of Oregon. CoachMePlus is targeting pro teams and large college programs as it tries to make more inroads.
As for the $1 million it has raised, about one-third will be invested into the product for incremental features, a third will go toward building up sales and marketing efforts, and the rest will go toward general corporate purposes, Balbach said.
CoachMePlus leaders credited Z80, founded by local venture capitalists Jordan Levy and Ronald Schreiber, with providing a big lift to their start-up, through funding and guidance.
Dawidowicz said the start-up has made some key changes in direction based on advice from the Z80 founders, as well as professionals in their circle. “Jordan Levy’s network is so extensive that a lot of high-powered professionals get on planes to come to Buffalo to sit with the team,” Balbach said.
Z80 was highlighted in a recent story by Fast Company called “4 Lessons Your Startup Can Learn From a Rust Belt Incubator.”
CoachMePlus’ focus is to “get as many customers as possible and make sure our reputation is seen as the leader in this space,” Dawidowicz said. “We have a competitive advantage as being early in the space. But now it’s a matter of proving that we can do what we say we can do.”