Scheduling App Maker TeamSnap Grabs Rival Weplay’s Users, Content

5/22/13Follow @MichaelXBD

A lot of professional sports teams try to steal away each other’s superstars. But what if one franchise tried to snatch its biggest rival’s entire fan base and all their ticket holders?

TeamSnap, a Boulder-based startup, recently accomplished something very much like that.

TeamSnap develops applications to help manage groups such as recreational sports teams. Its Web and mobile apps help keep players, parents, coaches, and league officials informed of upcoming events and schedule changes.

The company announced Tuesday that it recently acquired Weplay’s 2.25 million users and key technology for an undisclosed price.

What is Weplay? A New York City company that develops similar applications for youth sports leagues, along with original instructional videos and coaching materials. TeamSnap gets all that, plus underlying technology and Weplay’s existing relationships with brands such as UnderArmour, TeamSnap CEO Dave DuPont said.

The acquisition is a significant win for TeamSnap, DuPont said. The companies were going after the same customers and it essentially clears the field of a competitor.

“They have a large user base of people that try to do the same thing that our customers do,” DuPont said. “It was an opportunity to double the size of our company.”

With the acquisition, TeamSnap now has 5 million users across almost 200 countries, it said in a news release.

TeamSnap and Weplay share core features, but their growth strategies and trajectories differed. TeamSnap focuses on developing and improving its scheduling software, adding features like e-mail and text message notifications. What it does isn’t necessarily sexy, but it filled a need for families and adults with busy, shifting schedules. User feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, DuPont said.

Weplay raised a lot of money early on, bringing in $15 million within a year of its 2008 launch, according to SEC documents. Its SEC filings list MLB Advanced Media (the digital media division of Major League Baseball) and the sports division of the Creative Artists Agency as investors.

Weplay also had deals with superstar athletes like LeBron James and Peyton Manning.

The difference, according to TeamSnap, was its game plan and execution.

“I think it reflects a different approach to building a business, and it is a validation,” DuPont said.

“They focused a bit on the flash. Flash is great as long as you’ve got a great product, and we focused on the product,” DuPont said. “It’s not saying they did things the wrong way, it’s saying that we did all the right things by focusing on the product.”

TeamSnap—which celebrated its fourth anniversary on Tuesday—has raised a total of $4.4 million and closed a $2.75 million round in February. Investors include eonBusiness, Trinity Ventures, Toba Capital, and Torstar, the Canadian media company that owns the Toronto Star.

TeamSnap has spent about half of what its VCs have invested, with much of the money spent on a recent push to build its marketing team, DuPont said.

Its leadership has made an audible or two. TeamSnap’s key product is turning out to be its iPhone app, although mobile apps weren’t part of its original business plan.

“A mobile app wasn’t even a gleam in our eye,” DuPont said.

The next step for TeamSnap is to add features that leagues, organizations, and associations can use to manage the schedules of multiple teams.

“We’re not just a team tool anymore,” DuPont said.

TeamSnap said on its website that Weplay will remain up and running for the time being, with TeamSnap eventually moving over Weplay users’ data and keeping some of Weplay’s more popular features.

 

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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