An Interview with Ballogy Founder and CEO Todd Young
What problem is Ballogy trying to solve?
Biometric hardware, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and enhanced video capabilities are now generating a treasure trove of performance data for elite athletes and the college and professional programs who depend on them. But there is no industry standard or corresponding platform for the youth and amateur level athlete to effectively measure, track, and benchmark their growth and progress as they work hard to get better.
What’s more, there’s no sports-specific social network for these young athletes to share their progress and showcase their success and passion outside of broader applications such as Twitter and Instagram.
As a result, we’ve developed ‘the SAT for youth sports performance’ while also offering an interactive and engaging forum for individuals to connect, compete, and network with their peers, pro players, and coaches.
As a founder/entrepreneur there are many companies you could have started. What was the spark behind this one?
From the time my son could walk, he loved basketball and dreamed of playing at the college level and beyond. My wife and I did everything we could to feed his love of the game. From putting a hoop outside in our driveway, to spending hours driving across the state to tournaments, to ensuring he had the necessary equipment to be successful, his love of basketball was our love of basketball. But we found it’s not enough to just love the game.
I started asking myself if there could be a better way for us to track his development to give him a tangible path for improvement instead of having him simply hear how coaches, trainers, and camp directors think or feel he’s doing.
Athletes at professional levels, like Steph Curry and Lebron James invest in progressive technologies to continue to excel in their sports at the highest level. Making these technology resources readily available to young athletes as they continue to grow is critical to their success. That was the inspiration behind developing the Ballogy app.
What is the #1 metric or key performance indicator you track?
Because we are app based our #1 focus is on usage and engagement metrics.
Is our current quarantine situation helping or hurting your business?
We have experienced an enormous growth in user adoption since the pandemic. The number of athletes and coaches on the app has grown a staggering 800% since May. We’re not entirely surprised by our explosion in growth, however. From the beginning our platform was developed to virtually connect athletes, coaches, and youth sports organizations while focusing on making performance tracking available from anywhere.
As our partners seek continuity in the absence of face-to-face instruction, it’s exciting to see them embrace our technology to virtualize their camps and workouts. We’re happy we’ve been able to step in and serve our community while our business grows. We continue to offer the app for free and have decided as a company to also donate our technology to all coaches and athletes for one year.
There are thousands of apps trying to get users – what has been the most effective way for you to get users?
Some of our recent success can certainly be attributed to the market’s overall move from face-to-face interactions to virtual but the majority of our momentum has come from expanding our digital marketing efforts internationally as well as our strong strategic partnerships with organizations such as The Basketball Embassy, Point Guard College, The National Basketball Academy, Spurs Sports Academy, and the National Basketball Players Association.
Do you consider yourself B2B or B2C?
We are unique in that we’re both B2B and B2C. We work top down with premiere organizations to track athletic development leveraging our certified testing program as well as enabling individual players around the world to track their progress and connect, collaborate, compete with one another.
If you were to describe Ballogy in one sentence to someone’s grandmother what would you say?
Ballogy is a free mobile app for youth and amateur athletes that helps them track their development and elevate their game!
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
Our biggest challenge to date has been the cancellation of camps, tournaments and other sporting events. As a growing company, in-person events with our partners have been a huge opportunity for us to showcase our team and our brand as well as administer Ballogy Certified Testing. Fortunately, we have proven to be a critical value-add during this time as organizations seek to replace their in-person events.
Do you have plans to expand to other sports, when?
Absolutely. That has been the plan from the beginning at the request of many coaches, athletes, organizations, and, of course, our investors. While basketball is our core, we’ve been excited by all the new ways that Ballogy can be leveraged for other sports. We have built the technology in such a way that it can be easily adapted. We will be rolling two more sports in the second half of the year with other sports to follow.
What successful app or company do you aspire to?
As we build a thoughtfully crafted product that combines the best in analytics with the best in social media technology, we regularly look to Instagram for inspiration. Like Instagram, we are focused on what sets us apart and look to our biggest users for guidance as we craft our product and shape our direction. Even with the acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has made only a small number of changes, sticking with its simple and intuitive design and a core focus on what they do best – photo sharing.
If 5 years from now Ballogy is a runaway success, what would have been the #1 driver for that success?
The Ballogy app was designed for the young prospect hungry for data-driven improvement, the underdog wanting to prove himself, or for the coach looking for the player who can help their team win. If we deliver on our promise to level the playing field for these users, we have succeeded.
Todd Young Ballogy Founder & CEO BIO
As a father and serial technology company entrepreneur, Young knew creating a data-driven testing and analytics platform could dramatically improve athletic development and level the playing field for youth athletes across the globe. Prior to Ballogy, Young founded ProspX, a social business platform for managing the complex, multi-party sales process of the $500 billion commercial insurance industry. Young is the co-founder of The Step Onward Foundation. Todd is also no stranger to feats of athletic accomplishment, as he’s completed three 70.3 Ironman triathlons as well as a 140.6 Ironman triathlon.