One of Kansas City’s fastest-growing sports-fitness startups, Just Play Solutions, posted a 225-percent revenue increase headed into 2018, its co-founder said.
“That type of growth just doesn’t happen all the time,” said Austin Barone.
Just Play’s mobile and web app platform specializes in workflow management for football, basketball and — most recently — lacrosse coaches. In just a year, it jumped from 154 users to more than 400 teams, Barone said.
“Coaches love our platform,” he said. “When you can walk into a program and say that not only am I going to save you time but give you more information and more data in order for you to make better decisions, it’s just a no-brainer for an organization.”
The team count now includes two new NBA partnerships, eight WNBA squads and 218 NCAA/professional teams (up from 62 in 2017), Barone said.
Word of mouth within the industry has been a key driver of Just Play’s growth, he said.
“We have over 400, very happy customers that are willing to spread the word — that certainly helps,” he said. “And I think it speaks volumes about our team in general and the product itself.”
“It’s been a huge tool for us and has definitely contributed to our recent success. I know our players are more prepared because I’ve seen the results. Our players like the fact that we aren’t handing them bulky reports that they throw in their lockers or shove in a backpack. For this era and generation, it’s a no-brainer to use Just Play.“
— Seth Minter, associate head coach, Western Illinois women’s basketball
Just Play’s website is packed with coaches’ testimonials — from the University of Missouri men’s basketball program to the Villanova University football team.
“I have been waiting a long time for a tool like this,” said Tom Mariano, head coach for Pace University Lacrosse and Florida Launch. “Lacrosse has never seen a platform like Just Play. It will change the way lacrosse is taught and how teams prepare. With limited meeting time and many of us coaching multiple teams, this software will help us prepare more effectively in less time.”
Barone, a former kicker for the University of Kansas football team, as well as a recent Pipeline graduate, also attributes Just Play’s rapid success to the effort he and co-founder Andy Wachter put into pushing the business into the spotlight in 2017.
“Efficient growth and efficient scale is something that can make or break companies and I’ve been excited about how we’ve been able to handle that,” Barone said.
The company isn’t slowing down any time soon, he said. Just Play plans to continue expanding — adding more sports verticals to the business, as well as moving toward younger audiences.
“While yes we are hyper-focused in the football, basketball realm right now, we see the future of Just Play as being in all sports,” Barone said.