Bluefields is one place for your games and events. Bluefields service helps sports organizers create and automate all of the communication between amateur leagues, teams and players. Bluefield has created a platform for sports organizers to digitally coordinate every team and league user allowing them to reach its players in one place. Every game also has a home online where sports photos are no longer stuck in email threads. Founder and CEO, Andrew Crump, spoke to the Sports Techie blog about how his startup company began in the UK and then moved to the U.S. where they successfully raised $1 million in funding in order to continue their expansion plans to become the world’s largest network of sports teams. Parents, administrators and volunteers can all use their sports technology as a free management and social network for team sport in this $2.3 billion sports business market.
Bluefields originates from East London’s startup community and was founded in 2010, “but we only switched out full-time attention to Bluefields mid 2011.” Crump ran a consulting firm and renewable technology startup. His partner, CTO Piers Rollinson, sold his first startup as a University student and later led a technology consulting company before jumping onboard to Bluefields 100 percent.
Andy originally founded the company in England out of frustrations with logging onto local parks and recreation websites to try and figure out public leagues. His vision was to create sports tech software that can get teams together and schedule people together using text and email to automatically send messages and reminders. He felt the time was right for a tailor made product to fit coaches and players with a pure communication and organizational features platform.
Andy’s visions now offers photo sharing (available via Web and mobile app) and is partnering with companies like Puma, Gatorade and Pepsi to create exclusive apps for the platform. Andy pointed out that the product team employees are company shareholders. This has allowed them to make moves quickly and be more fluid because they operate as a tight knit team.
The company hit a milestone today with their first Las Vegas team off Beta and officially hosted live in the clouds.
Each athlete has an online profile on Bluefields connected through their Facebook account. The simple dashboard means coaches and league organizers can easily contact multiple players at once, and also add information for every game both before and after the match. In day-to-day use, this could include where the match will be played, who has been picked for the squad, drop-off points and photographs of the game.
The home page has Overview, Schedule and Past Games tabs. All team pages have Activity, Schedule, Results and Team tabs. The Help button has a Support Center with FAQ’s, support articles and contact us info. I tested the Online Chat powered by Olark and was answered back by Piers in seconds.
Their newest features include an opt-in for players and parents, meaning that organizers no longer have to worry about asking their members to sign up; calendar synchronization, for scheduling important games and training sessions; real-time team messaging and comments; sticky messaging function for organizers, as well as automatic reminders for players via text message or email.
Over its first seven week beta, Bluefields signed up 3,000 team and 36,000 players. Today, they have 60,000 sports team players whilst in private Beta. Andy and his product team focused on measuring the Beta metrics and their attraction rate as a major indication of whether this model was sustainable and would eventually be profitable.
Accelerators are defined as ‘Scalable Startups’ with a goal to find a business model that scales to large revenue. Accelerators allow startups to work in an environment that is conducive to finding that scalable model, and stage one is finding product-market fit. The big break for Bluefield and Andy came when they made this path a reality.
“Startups are a big part of the landscape in London,” said Crump, “But people here embrace failure, and embrace learning. My firm has been running since 2008, and although the community got better and better, it got to a point that we needed to come to Silicon Valley.”
Bluefields began their sportsbiz journey as part of the pan-European startup accelerator Seedcamp. In early 2012, Bluefield joined Seedcamp before migrating to the Silicon Valley to participate in the US incubator 500 Startups during their Summer 2012 Accelerator Program. This led to financial backing from a power list of entrepreneurs, angel options and seed investors.
Backers for the Seedcamp and 500 Startups include Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund, Facebook Europe executive Christian Hernandez and yammer 1.0 designer Elliot Loh with a list of cross-atlantic Angles and Seed Funds also contributing below.
New investment included contributions from Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund, Ballpark Ventures, Venrex, 500 Startups and White Star Capital. Meanwhile, Elliot Loh, Edward Wray, Christian Hernandez, Alicia Navarro, Chang Ng, Andy McLoughlin, Tim Fong, Richard Fearn, Andreas Koukorinis, Christian Lawless and Nathan Elstub were also involved as individual investors.
VegasTechFund is a seed stage investment fund focused empowering amazing founders and startups passionate about building a vibrant, connected tech community in downtown Las Vegas.
It’s founded by Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos that was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. Tony purchased Lama shaped property bought in the more rundown Northern side of the city. The 10 block radius is designed for office space and to showcase their company culture to the world. They see an opportunity to create a City as an incubator and aim to invest in companies who share that vision and want to build on it.
Andy originally met Andy White in the Silicon Valley while pitching his business plan Andy it turned out was an entrepreneur, angel investor, and active in the #VegasTech ecosystem, working with @VegasTechFund, and part of @DowntownProLV. http://www.downtownproject.com
Bluefields joined the Downtown Project, the $350 million fund created at attract business and growth to Downtown Las Vegas and creating thriving, lively neighborhoods.
SpeedCamp – 500 Startups
Seedcamp is the premier European Startup investment and mentorship program. Seedcamp laid out its plans to be in the ‘Ivy League’ of funding and mentoring programs – alongside TechStars in Seattle and Y Combinator. Andy had his share of VC offices, flights, hotel rooms, pitch events, tech startups, laptop stickers and foursquare checkin competitions when his company finally met this sportsbiz opportunity.
Doug McClure VC & founding partner at 500 Startups stated, “500 Startups is a global seed fund & incubator. Our experience bringing international startups to the US is a great match for SeedCamp startups, by helping them improve their product & marketing efforts, as well as making introductions to Silicon Valley mentors and platform companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, & PayPal.”
Crump mentioned that, “Since 500 Startups we set about proving what can be done in this market and we are lucky enough to have been able to raise investment from all-star entrepreneurs and see VCs.”
About Bluefield Angel List
Although they are a United States incorporated company, they maintain a UK subsidiary office. They now have offices in Mt View and Las Vegas.
Amateur leagues are a major focus for Andy and his team of Sports Techie developers. Deals are on the horizon in Nevada where they have about 20 leagues already signed up. They have not spoken with the Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs of America and YMCA yet.
Because they are in the startup phase, 100% of users’ metrics are looked at as a funnel set for a larger user base in the near future. The company’s existing user base is located all over the planet. English is the language of choice for now however Andy understands how easy it is to localize software today into native languages when the time is right and the need is there.
The Bluefields Coaching Blog – http://sotb.bluefields.com/ is a grassroots sports blog for coaches and players. This blog is a wise offshoot and an asset where additional revenue can be generated from.
A new iOS and Android App will be forthcoming.
Their competition is Team Snap. Andy says, “They are good at what they do.” Read about TeamSnap:
Revenue will come from “brands, advertisers, etc. and their fans” according to Advisor Micah Baldwin, who says, “Andy and team have developed an amazing technology that serves an underserved market in a way that takes full advantage of the natural/organic social interactions of kids and their parents. If they crack the nut (and I think they might have), they will… have access to a group of offline folks in a way that allows for interesting interactions between brands, advertisers, etc and their fans.”
I asked Andy where one million dollars gets spent at a sports technology startup. He replied, “Overhead spending.” They are not in the hiring phase at the moment. There are 8 people on staff, 6 are programmers. I commented to Andy that he wears a lot of hats which he cheerfully acknowledged. Intern Fred contacted me about publishing a blog. Andy mentioned how Fred just took a job with Amazon here in Seattle. Andy said, “They cannot afford him.”
Sign up is an online breeze. You can use Facebook or an email address to get started. After entering your team name, choosing your sport, selecting colors, and adding some personal contact information, you are 45 percent done signing up.
The next step is to add a schedule for a game, practice or other need. You can custom name the event. It also has a Date and Time stamp. There is a ‘Repeat’ option that allows the user to automatically repeat a team communication as needed. Adding the event location triggers a Google Maps to display and show the team where a field is located. A RSVP box is available. And with that you are finished with editing and now 65% complete.
Adding players is the next step. I like how they have Demo Players available to add so you can see how it works before adding you own people. The Demo players are in fact Bluefield employee profiles. All you need are a valid email address and mobile number to make this work. Send invites to a player or use the team invitation. Each player can become a team organizer by simply changing their Team Permissions settings.
Send a Team Invite
Please join our Sports Techie events here:
I set up a Practice, The Sports Techie Games over consecutive weeks and a Sports Technology 101 event.
Bobby, the current schedule is below. You’ll receive any changes via email and you can always view the most up-to-date schedule online.
|23 May||Practice 11:30 AM at Seattle, WA (Los Angeles time zone)|
|23 May||The Sports Techie Games 11:05 PM at Seattle, WA (Los Angeles time zone)|
|24 May||Sports Technology 101 11:30 AM at Seattle, WA (Los Angeles time zone)|
|30 May||The Sports Techie Games 11:05 PM at Seattle, WA (Los Angeles time zone)|
Andy is CEO, a serial entrepreneur and UX Designer. This is his 3rd Startup. He is a mentor at Springboard and Oxygen Accelerator. Crump is a recent graduate of Seedcamp and 500 Startups.
Andy is 27 year-old and coached a youth football team back when he was 17 but did not play soccer as a lad. He ended up playing at the semi-pro level around England. His two daughters play regularly. His work background is heavy user experience and design. While he is not a coder he has the skill level to develop software and evangelize.
Andrew describes himself as a lover of adrenaline, tech, two wheels, music, sport, learning, UX/IA and design. He particularly enjoys hacking; mainly life. Although Andrew has previous entrepreneurial exploits in more traditional industries his love for innovation and technology has driven into this crazy fun digital world. As a child Andrew taught himself Flash before HTML and started a digital business before he knew what object orientation was, which gives a sense of his priorities.
Was this Andy’s Experience? – Nikola Tesla Pitching Silicon Valley VCs
Sports Techie, Bluefields is a free service that helps sports organizers create and automate all of the communication between amateur leagues, teams and players. This online site to organize sports games is at a maturity point calling for growth of their user base while working on new products for leagues and clubs. Andy wants to win the Industry space with the best products while they acquire customers and prioritize making them happy.
Apply for the Bluefields API Private Beta
You can also join our fake Sports Techie events as a test to see how Bluefields works or give it a go yourself, it is easy and complimentary to use. We wish Andy and his employees the Sports Techie community best with their current expansion plans and thank him for his time.
If you have a Sports Technology centric idea, use Andy and his true startup story as inspiration to get started and make it so yourself.
PS- Welcome King “Marshall” Mathers to the Sports Techie community Facebook fan page today.
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