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Anatomy of an Overnight Success

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As I know all too well, managing group activities can be difficult. Of course, in crisis there is opportunity.

These days, nearly 7 million people around the world use TeamSnap to manage sports and other activities, is hitting its stride. The company raised a $7.5 million venture capital round led by the Foundry Group at the beginning of the year. It's no understatement to claim that it is becoming a must-use app for everyone involved in youth sports: "Before TeamSnap, did kids ever make it to their soccer games?" Earlier this week, I sat down with Dave DuPont, CEO of TeamSnap, to find out more.

PS: What is TeamSnap? What do you do? Why did you create the company?
DD: At a fundamental level, TeamSnap simplifies the lives of everyone involved in any kind of on-going activity. We started TeamSnap to solve a problem all of us experience, the hassle of coordinating sports activities for ourselves and our kids. With TeamSnap, available on the Web and through mobile app, coaches, parents and players can share team participant roster and contacts, practice and game schedules, lists of who is supposed to bring refreshments and other team-related information. We are talking about basic stuff here, but as anyone who has been involved with sports can tell you, making sure everyone has it can be a real pain.

PS: Why now?
DD: People's lives have never been busier and the alternatives to TeamSnap, spreadsheets, phone calls or antiquated club or league-level software solutions, are atrocious. The way people get information and communicate is rapidly changing. We are using new communication technologies, especially in the mobile arena, to get people the information they need the way they want to consume it.

What makes TeamSnap special? Other companies have focused on this market. Why TeamSnap and how did the company become such an overnight success? Well, first of all, "overnight" is in the eye of the beholder. We have been at this, albeit at a very small scale initially, for more than four years. As for why us, I believe it comes down to our focus on solving a particularly troublesome problem for a particular group of people. We do not worry about pro athletes or what they have for progress. We simply want to make activities, and specifically sports, easier to be involved in. We focus on solving a real problem for real people, and strive to make our service super easy to understand and use.

PS: What is your biggest sport? Biggest locations?
DD: Our biggest sport is soccer, our biggest city, believe it or not is Toronto, but TeamSnap is widely used across sports and around the world. You can find people using us in almost 200 countries for everything from Ringette, (a girl's version of hockey played primarily in Canada, to Netball, a cousin to basketball played in Australia.

PS:  What are some of the uses of TeamSnap you did not expect?
DD: We have been surprised by the number of non-sports organizations that use us, including Scout troops, alumni groups and motorcycle clubs. When you think about it, we should not have been surprised. Any ongoing organized or even badly organized activity tends to have the same characteristics as a sports team: a list of participants, a schedule of events, someone bringing refreshments, a means of collecting money...

PS: Where do you go from here?
DD: We have barely scratched the service of the potential opportunity. We still have a lot of room to grow in North America, we have seen significant growth outside the continent even without local language versions and will be introducing those soon, we can do a lot more to serve the non-sports market, and lastly, we can add more capabilities to our basic services. We are in for some exciting years ahead.