Hitpost: Breaking Social Media And Sports Barriers
Aaron Krane is your typical sports fan. Well, sort of. He is also trying to transform the way his fellow fans engage with the sporting universe.
In the last few months, his company, Hitpost, has become a nationwide sensation for sports fans, providing them with a “personalized and very real time application,” in Krane's words, to access sports across the country from any platform, anywhere.
The San Francisco based company, which launched their apps for iPhone, Android and the Internet earlier this year, is already approaching 100,000 daily views. It already has licensing deals with a growing number of publishers (including Sports Illustrated) and is looking to expand into the UK market. They have lined up a few UK-based investors Krane says “will be very instrumental working inside the UK market.” The possibilities with soccer –- wait, I mean football -– are endless.
But even though the fan base for their free iPhone , Android and Web apps are growing, the company itself is still tiny. Other than Krane, the CEO and designer, there are seven engineers and a part-time dog.
HuffPost spoke with Krane last week to hear more about Hitpost and what we can expect from Krane's team in the future.
So, what exactly is Hitpost?
Hitpost is a personalized, visual and very fast platform for sports. Users receive and share great sports photos and news, which they follow based on any type of topic they care about. We deliver it to them on strictly the latest mobile and tablet platforms, because sports is a perfect use-case for cutting edge technology and social products. You have everyone in this hyper-social, hyper real time manner, everything is agreed, everything is viewed, everything has to be right now. And yet the sports products that are currently available do not address this behavior. But sports is also a great market opportunity, because while sports fans my age and younger probably check Facebook 10 times a day, they still don’t have a consummately addictive sports product. That’s changing now.
What type of community are you hoping to engage with this product.
We want to build a community around people who like to snap photos at games, sports bars or even of the TVs in their living rooms. Photos are the highest common denominator of sharing. The value created is that you see a live stream of sports moments with amusing captions, by your friends, hours before any of it is available on the rest of the web. We get some amazing photos; we actually send out the weekly top 10 in our newsletter.
Sports has reoccurring social value and sports is perhaps one of the most socially meaningful [venues]. So that’s our goal. We want [to capture] the mobile version of that.
Other than the phone app, I understand you have other creations as well.
We have a few different products. In February this year, we launched our first product, hitpost.com, also a partnered version of that product with Sports Illustrated. A couple months later we launched our iPhone and Android apps. And we’re always experimenting with crazy skunkworks projects that leverage our code for completely unrelated situations. Our goal is to give audiences [the ability] to create and distribute the product.
Is it the mere fact that the user controls the content that separates Hitpost from other sports based apps?
That, plus a very high standard of design.
Will there be changes to Hitpost or is this more or less, the finished product?
Changes are ongoing, and you’ll see lots of them in the next few weeks. However, while some changes involve adding new functionality (or new applications like our upcoming iPad native app), most of the change involves removing complexity and simplifying the product to surface its core value.
In the process of pitching these non-sports publishers, I realized that the true power of Hitpost was maybe outside of the sports market.
I think that our technology and our product can help make them better and more equipped, with all the amazing products that are out there right now but aren’t intertwined with the publishers.
What makes Hitpost so special?
Team + metrics. I love the team: We’re all young, and we all went to neighboring high schools in Silicon Valley. Furthermore, our metrics indicate this we have a seriously engaging product: 40 percent of traffic is daily active users and average time on site is approximately 18 minutes. Now it’s becoming a scalable business because we have multiple other [non-sports] publications who want to license Hitpost, and the demonstrable metrics make its market value quite high.