An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Sean Leary (founder and CEO) of SportsThread, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Centennial
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Centennial
- 2020 Best Tech Startups in Centennial
Tell us the origin story of SportsThread – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
I had the original idea for Sports Thread after I went to play junior college baseball at Orange Coast College. While I was at OCC, I met dozens of other athletes who were having trouble with the recruiting process. At the time, the only options to get help obtaining a college scholarship were very costly and antiquated. I had the idea to use social media to provide a way for athletes to connect with college coaches and network to get scholarships for free. From there, I spent the next two years playing D1 baseball at Oral Roberts University, raising capital, and writing the initial business plan and scope of work for the first version of the product. Once I graduated, I was lucky enough to find an incredible group of mentors in Silicon Valley, including our CMO Dick O’Donnell who helped me improve the business model and get the company ready to scale. Since then, it has been a daily process of improving our platform, adding clients to our SaaS suite, adding new users to the social network, and scaling Sports Thread to where it is today – a top 200 sports app on the Apple app store.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Building brand awareness and brand equity has been an involved process – creating a brand identity that the consumer has a connection with takes time and diligence. In terms of fundraising, we have bootstrapped every dollar we have raised. Also, we have made incremental improvements to the product – finding product-market fit takes time listening to the market, analyzing data, and making iterative changes. I am proud to say we have done very well with all three of these difficult processes.
What does the future hold for SportsThread?
Sports Thread is working towards becoming the go-to platform for all things youth sports. As the first sports social network and leading SaaS platform for the youth sports market, we are working towards becoming the place where anyone can search for sports information or seek to make a connection and pursue personal branding/recognition for their skills with their peers, college coaches, or otherwise.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Centennial?
I think there are many talented companies in the area and the talent pool for hiring is excellent!
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Seek out help. No one can do it alone! Be humble and find people who can complement areas that are not your strengths and provide knowledge where you need to learn. Having a great group of mentors/advisors when you are starting out is one of the most key things any entrepreneur can do.