Beyond the Box is a digital sports media company that completes the sports fan viewing experience by aggregating sports news via their app exclusively for the iPad and iPad Mini. The Palo Alto startup sports technology company, “Curates NFL, NBA, MLB, and hockey news, analysis, rumors, videos, photos, and player thoughts from 1,000 media sources and 2,000 players into a personalized sports timeline,” said Founder and CEO, Shailendra (Shailo) Rao, PHD. Shailo spoke to the Sports Techie blog about his Beyond the Box vision for new consumption of sports content by using a richer app experience and the bigger iPad screen, in addition, we chatted about the Stanford StartX accelerator 12 week program.
Beyond the Box
The sports tech company incorporated back in August 2012, and they launched the Beyond the Box app on April 24th after being developed by Murphy Avenue.
A 2013 report from Nielson on “mobile sports” indicated that nearly 60 percent of smartphone and tablet users access sports content on their mobile devices at least once a day. Because of this, Shailo and his team have plans to, “Re-imagines sports news by bringing fans real-time coverage, player updates, and analysis of their favorite teams to one centralized sports timeline by going beyond current sports entertainment conventions from newspapers and websites with content, insights, and catalysts to connect with friends.” Beyond the Box reduces the need for sports fans to manually curate feeds. “Twitter is the new RSS and first source,” explained Shailo. Twitter, YouTube and Instagram feeds make up their content flow.
The timeline aggregates content ranking and analyzing sources based on a number of criteria, including popularity, relevancy, and other factors. The Solution allows fans to personalize their feed to focus updates from their favorite teams and players. “Content coming straight from players is different than ESPN and Turner Sports coverage,” says Shailo. Their sports business model does not have the same content restrictions or exclusive partnerships found with sports media properties like ESPN’s Sports Center Feed or Bleacher Report’s Team Stream. Shailo feels that this will, “eliminate bias that may come along with those things.”
The app enables users to view coverage of the four major sports from both national and local media analysts and outlets, as well as from over 300 local team blogs, thanks to its pulling in content from SB Nation and their online audience of 20M monthly visitors.
An updated v1.0.1 Beyond the Box for iPad that is more stable and has UI enhancements is now live on the App Store:
StartX – A Community for Founders
Frustrated by their attempts to find a better sports aggregation Solution, the three founders decided to build their own at StartX, the startup accelerator program affiliated with Stanford.
StartX is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the development of Stanford’s top entrepreneurs through experiential education. StartX has accelerated the development of some of Stanford’s best entrepreneurs, in fields from clean tech and bio tech to consumer internet and enterprise software. They take 0% equity and charge nothing.
In the two years since its inception, over 2400 members of the Stanford community have applied to StartX, representing over 1000 companies and 12% of Stanford. As of September 2012, of the 1000 companies that have applied, 90 have been accepted and 60 have already graduated the program. The real kicker is that 85% of the companies supported by StartX have successfully fundraised, representing over $100M in funding, and averaging $1.51M raised per company.
- Community: A close-knit peer community of the best Stanford entrepreneurs who learn from, motivate, and support one another
- Alumni Network: A network of 250+ high quality StartX alumni founders in all industries and from all backgrounds who have raised on average $1.5M per company
- Mentorship: Top tier mentorship from 200+ highly-vetted serial entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts
- Training: Access to training and information from relevant experts in any industry to guide founders in every aspect of starting a company
- Resources: Over $100,000 of free resources: office space, free legal, banking, $60k cloud computing, accounting, software, and more
- Financial Aid: We offer need-based financial aid to our founders
- Access to Capital: Connections to every top investment firm and angel group, as well as a large number of individual angel investors
Founders on Twitter
@shailorao, Product. Design. Sports Junkie. @sagarcsavant, Engineer. Entrepreneur. Go Rockets! @vmak52 Builder. Fanatic. Beat the Heat!
Shailo Rao, PHD, Human Computer Interaction, Stanford university, had the passion and skill level to annually curate a huge roster of RSS feeds from his favorite websites and Twitter accounts. Shailo did some consulting for SB Nation as a Stanford graduate student that involved analytics and dashboards, a publishing platform, writer’s analytics and measured performance.
He was on the Founding Team at Katango that was acquired by Google. It was a social algorithms startup funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers sFund.
Eight years ago, he co-founded Golden State of Mind, a NBA, Golden State Warriors, and basketball blog + community part of SB Nation/ Vox Media (backed by Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, and Khosla Ventures) with 43 million page views, 4,500 Twitter followers, 1,500 Facebook likes.
Today, he is a Mentor with BUILD whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. See build.org.
I wanted to know what his sports background consisted of and found out he played JV basketball and still plays weekend hoops, plus Shailo is a recreational golfer.
This new sports business will earn revenue but it is not something Shailo and team are focused on as they continue to build out the app. They are not looking to increase their user base per say, instead they want to stick to the plan they formulated at StartX.
Because viewers are interacting with second and third screens while watching the games on TV, commercials are losing out. In time, interactive ads will migrate over to where the eyeballs are on second screens during commercials, timeouts, and while fans search the web for related content, that in turn could provide opportunities to integrate sponsored content or in-stream advertising.
Players of Fantasy Sports will find Beyond the Box content gives them a competitive advantage for football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams. Fantasy sports and casual fantasy games such as betting between friends and other forms of gambling are all potential revenue streams.
Box And 1 for iPad or a similar name, is a reimagining NBA box score unchanged since 1946. It offers a NBA dashboard for fans with stat visualizations and tweets. This is coming soon.
Look for additional content from college sports and International sport like soccer, cricket and F1.
Sign up on their web site to be part of their iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile app launch.
Investor should contact: info at murphyavenue.co
Sports Techie, The Beyond the Box iPad app allows sports fans to curate real-time coverage, players updates and analysis from their favorite sports teams in one centralized timeline. Shailo called it a, “TweetDeck on steroids — for sports.”
I enjoyed learning that Beyond the Box is a fun place to be and it is easy to understand why as they try to stick it to the man. Rao’s entrepreneurial spirit, Sports Techie life foundation, and StartX company birth, are just what this world and country needs to challenge the status quo at mega sized Sports Media Companies, without bias in your living room. In the end, Beyond the Box second screen fans win and so do sports leagues, teams and players.
If you want a fresh sports timeline, Beyond the Box is now it for the iPad and iPad Mini.
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