Featured Startup Pitch: imATHLETE aims to disrupt the amateur athletic industry with a robust online platform

By Editor December 1, 2011

imathlete_logoCompany: imATHLETE

Website: www.imathlete.com

Founders: Jeff Matlow

Headquarters: Santa Monica, California

Year Founded: 2009

Twitter: @IAmAthlete

Brief Company Description: imATHLETE: leveraging technology to enhance and inspire athletic activity, through registration, fundraising and community interaction.


Jeff_Matlow_imATHLETEBy Jeff Matlow, founder and CEO

Product Overview

Simply put, imATHLETE is aggregating athletic interaction. Like Fandango did for movies, TripAdvisor for travel and Yelp for dining, imATHLETE is disrupting the $90 billion amateur athletic industry by uniting the commerce and community into one single, robust platform.

We provide unique technology that helps event organizers, city governments, non-profits and governing bodies better manage their participant interactions. imATHLETE’s technology is focused on supporting the four pillars of athletic commerce: registration, fundraising, ecommerce, training. We provide systems that streamline and transform our clients’ businesses in ways never before seen: reducing workload by up to 60 percent and increasing revenue channels into new, innovative arenas.

imATHLETE launched in 2009 and since then has become one of the fastest growing and respected companies in the industry. With clients like City of Philadelphia, USA Triathlon, Blue Cross / Blue Shield, USA Volleyball, Life Time Fitness, Susan G. Komen, and thousands of others, we are considered by many to have the most robust, flexible and dynamic technology available.

And that’s just the beginning.

And speaking of beginning…

Founder’s Story

imATHLETE all started as an inkling of an idea from Jeff Matlow, the founder (who, by the way is the author, so that’s why this in the first person—before it gets all creepy). I’ve had a wonderful career as an entrepreneur, first in the music business where I started and sold a record label. Following that I built a marketing agency, where we developed strategic plans for Fortune 100s, including Citibank, Universal, Mattel and Kraft. After that agency merged with a larger conglomerate, I shifted my focus to my true passion: sports.

I’m an Ironman triathlete, marathoner and swimmer. I’m a sports marketer, published journalist and involved in governance at the Olympic level (former USA Triathlon Board of Directors, current Running USA Board of Directors).

In 2008 I recognized a dire need to aggregate the market and acted quickly. I acquired SportsWare, Inc., a registration company based in Alabama, hired a brilliant CTO (Ken Nakai), formerly from Rent.com, and we began building imATHLETE.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

imATHLETE is heavily involved in the endurance sports market. Though we sponsor quite a few conferences throughout the year and have an amazing sales force, our biggest asset is word of mouth. We’re proud and humbled to say that most of our clients are passionate about us. Once we get a few clients in one market, the expansion is dramatic and fast. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have a Referral Rewards program where we pay four percent of our net profit to anybody that refers new business to us. We take care of the people who take care of us.

How We Differentiate from the Competition

There are a variety of ways in which we differentiate ourselves from others. From a strategic level, our focus is not simply on processing credit cards, like many other online registration systems, but on aggregating the community that drives the transactions. imATHLETE integrates all primary commerce channels (fundraising, ecommerce, travel, coaching) and the athletic community interaction like no other company is doing and, as a result, monetizes each transaction in more beneficial ways.

Our product offerings provide new opportunities for our clients to dramatically expand their businesses at no cost to them. At the same time, our social strategy is focused on continually leveraging the immense athletic community to enhance and increase the interaction with our clients’ products.

At a more granular level, imATHLETE’s technology solves problems that event organizers didn’t even know they had. We’ve streamlined their processes to such an extent that up to 60 percent of their workload is off the table for them.

Business Model

imATHLETE makes money through a variety of channels, including:

* online registration technology

* fundraising/donation management technology

* online advertising/marketing services for organizations interested in reaching physically  active consumers

* ecommerce/merchandising solutions

* sales of coaching/training plans

Current Needs

In terms of fundraising, we are cash flow positive and have been since 13 months after launch. We raised a small angel round of less than $400k in 2008. We will be raising Series A financing within the next four months to accelerate growth and complete one-to-two additional acquisitions.

Meanwhile, imATHLETE is looking to hire two more sales personnel as quickly as possible. Both people will be focused on encouraging event organizers to use imATHLETE’s technology. One of the openings is for somebody with up to three years’ experience in sales, while the other opening is for somebody with 5+ years’ experience in sports, technology and/or SaaS product sales. All sales people must have an understanding of the endurance sports world, whether through previous jobs or participation. Both positions are based in our Santa Monica office.

imATHLETE – www.imathlete.com