KAEO Startups: StadiumPark

The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.
StadiumPark Logo (1)

KAEO The Details:

Name: StadiumPark
Launched: January 2015
Founder: Jeremy Crane
Concept: Mobile payment app for stadium, arena and other venue parking.
Website:  www.stadiumparkapp.com
Twitter: @stadiumparkapp

Stadium parking can be a nightmare. When multiple venues share the same parking facilities, game nights can be problematic when multiple teams play at the same time. Even for single team venues, parking can be a logistical nightmare. Fans who drive to a game have come to expect long lines just to pay to park. While some newer stadiums are built with better access to public transportation, driving is still the most common method of transportation for most venues.

The process for parking at venues is broken. Long parking lines and the cash-only payment system which is common at most venues cause several major problems. Most importantly, fans become disgruntled with their first point of contact with a venue. For the venue, fans who are waiting in line in their cars are not in the stadium buying merchandise and concessions. Additionally, many venues only accept cash as payment for parking making it the only place throughout the gameday experience where cash is necessary. No one benefits from long lines just to pay an attendant in cash.

Jeremy Crane seeks to alleviate parking problems with StadiumPark. StadiumPark is a mobile app that allows parking attendants to accept cash-less payments through a simple QR code. Using a designated parking line drivers can scan a code and pay for parking simply by opening the StadiumPark app. It’s similar to EzPass or SunPass but for parking.

StadiumPark is a free service for the venue. The app collects a small fee from each customer transaction.
iphone dualThe idea for StadiumPark came to Jeremy while working at a mobile parking payments startup focused on municipality meter payments.  He realized there was a significant need for mobile parking payments in the stadium, arena and event business. The first developments of the StadiumPark app began to come together earlier this year in the middle of the NHL hockey season.

During the last few months of the season, Jeremy was able to test StadiumPark for Buffalo Sabres games at First Niagara Center. While drivers initially had to be trained to use StadiumPark, frequent visitors to First Niagara became familiar with StadiumPark and expected to see StadiumPark at their parking lot. After the initial success in Buffalo, as well as a successful event at the Citrus Bowl, Jeremy is now raising capital with the interest of growing StadiumPark rapidly on a national scale. Jeremy’s vision is that fans will be able to pay for parking with StadiumPark at any venue. “StadiumPark is gaining substantial interest from stadiums, arenas and other venues throughout the United States.  As the organization continues to grow, we look forward to providing great benefits to sports fans and venues alike.”

To learn more visit www.stadiumparkapp.com.

Time Inc. Acquires FanSided

Fansided-logoSports Illustrated and FanSided jointly announced today that Time Inc. has acquired the sports and entertainment network, including its 300+ sports websites and more than 1,500 contributors.
Talking New Media profiled the changing landscape of legacy media companies and what the acquisition means for both Sports Illustrated and Fansided.
In researching the acquisition, we came across this fun story about how the Cleveland Indians threatened to cancel their Sports Illustrated subscription after the magazine’s season preview edition picked the Indians to win the World Series. Cleveland was in last place in the American League’s Central Division standings at the time. Naturally, the article was posted on FanSided.
Sports Illustrated posted the press release. FanSided Founders Adam and Zach Best also shared their thoughts in a blog post on FanSided. “We want to thank you for allowing us to go from being a bootstrapped company run by two brothers to one of Time’s iconic brands.”


KAEO Startups: The Mobile Locker Co.

The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.

The Mobile Locker Co.

KAEO The Details:
Name: The Mobile Locker Co.
Launched: March 2014
Founder: Molly MacDonald
Concept: Secure, convenient personal storage for road races and other outdoor events.
Website: www.themobilelockerco.com
Twitter: @MobileLockerCo
Email: Email The Mobile Locker Co.

As it has for the last several years, the number of participants in road races is poised to grow over the next few years. From local community 5Ks to the 25,000+ participants at weekend-long marathon events, runners make up one of the fastest growing participant sports in America.

Therefore, it’s likely you’ve experienced the problem that Molly MacDonald set out to solve: what to do with all of your personal belongings during a race. Most races worth their entry fee have some kind of baggage drop area but these areas are intended for a change of clothes, not personal or valuable items like a watch, phone, or keys. Race organizers encourage runners to leave personal items at home. At the very least, runners have a few personal items on them at all times like car keys and their license.  Just a few items in your pockets and running becomes much more difficult. Even if a runner feels comfortable leaving their valuables in their bag, bag check areas are prime targets for theft, especially when anyone can see into the clear bags which many larger races have switched to using.

Molly MacDonald, a former club lacrosse player at Arizona State and Massachusetts native, created The Mobile Locker Co. to give runners a place to store their valuables during a race.

The Mobile Locker Co. works just like it sounds: the runner receives a dedicated locker with a key/padlock that only she has access to until the end of the race event. All of the lockers are stored on a big truck which makes moving the lockers from event to event more seamless.

The Mobile Locker Co. generally rents lockers directly to the runners and relies on the race directors and pre-race communications to get the word out about the lockers to the runners. On some occasions, events have rented the entire truck for their runners in advance, making the lockers an added perk of the race.

Molly and The Mobile Locker Co. spend most of the spring, summer, and fall running seasons setting up at races throughout New England. In addition to local community races, they have formed partnerships with some of New England’s largest races including the Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon, the Cox Providence Rhode Races, Boston’s Run To Remember, and the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, Maine. During the winter, Molly and her team packs up the trucks and heads down to Florida.

The mobile locker concept reaches far beyond running races and the company plans to expand into other events like triathlons, endurance events, and sporting events.

Molly originally launched the company as Blue Trailer Lockers in March 2014 and tested the idea for nine months. The trailer was a smaller initial investment than a truck and she was able to bootstrap the company through a personal loan. The company grew but faced several challenges throughout the first summer. For the most part, runners come prepared to races so Molly’s team had to work hard on changing runner behavior. They relied heavily on pre-race communication from the race directors, education on the value of the trailer at events, and a revenue share with the race directors to make the lockers mutually beneficial.

Eventually, runners began to expect to see the locker trailer at their local races.

Inside one of the trucks via  Cohasset Road Race by the Sea's Facebook Page
Inside one of the trucks via Cohasset Road Race by the Sea’s Facebook Page

In November of this past year, Molly bought a truck and rebranded the company as The Mobile Locker Co. They now have two trucks working events throughout New England.

As for the future, Molly plans to have 1-2 trucks in ten markets nationwide within five years. She is also planning on switching from a key/padlock system to a more automated system similar to the bike-share programs in major cities like New York and Boston. “As we head into the busy season of our second year, we’re seeing a lot of momentum in both New England and Florida and we want to capitalize on the potential in other regions that have strong running communities as well. We are putting plans in motion to have a national presence as the premium storage solution for road races and beyond – concerts, golf tournaments, professional football games; really any event with security concerns or a big volunteer operation. Right now, we’re working on perfecting our model and growing our team so we can enter each new market as seamlessly as possible.”

After rebranding the company as The Mobile Locker Co., Molly brought on two investors who are now also board members. The company currently has four business partners and will be looking for further investment soon.

More more information on The Mobile Locker Co., visit www.themobilelockerco.com.



The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.



KAEO The Details:
Launched: 2015
Founder: Jeff Lin
Concept: A new fan experience delivered to your doorstep.
Website: www.fanchest.com
Twitter: @thefanchest
Email: Email FANCHEST


Fans have more choices than ever when deciding how to spend their money.  Sports remains one of the most profitable industries and fans continue to be loyal to the teams they have cheered and supported for years. Fans are passionate and express their loyalty by purchasing tickets to games, buying merchandise, talking about their favorite teams to their friends and family, and trashing talking on social media.

As the sports fan experience has changed, so too has the means by which fans show their support for their favorite teams. Purchasing team merchandise has transitioned from mail-order team catalogs to online team stores. The #1 online sports merchandise retailer doesn’t have any brick and mortar stores. With increase access comes more availability and choice.

But with more choice, comes more indecisiveness. FANCHEST seeks to enhance the best part about being a fan by providing a box full of exclusive team merchandise.

Jeff Lin is an avid Florida Gators fan and alumnus. He spent 10 years on Wall Street and has been consulting for startups for over the last 5 years. When he realized the niche that FANCHEST could fill, he decided it was time to launch his own startup.

FANCHEST caters to the sports fan. FANCHEST delivers a box of exclusive team sports merchandise to fans that crave to be more closely aligned with their favorite teams. FANCHEST combines the successful subscription box model (like BarkBox, NatureBox) with the option of a one-time purchase/gift. The company seeks to provide the best customer experience possible and didn’t want to lock anyone into long term contracts. They will, however, offer fans discounts on multiple box orders if they want to participate throughout the year/season.

FANCHEST currently only offers the New York Rangers. Since he lives in New York, Jeff is using the partnership to test his product. Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans that exist. The close proximity of the buyers allows Jeff to hand deliver some of the boxes to eager Rangers fans. He says the experience of hand-delivery gives him immediate feedback on how the product is doing. Our goal is to improve the fan experience on every level. That includes receiving and opening the FANCHEST. It’s great to see a customer’s reaction to our product firsthand, and it also helps me find ways to make it better.” The company is excited to expand their offering to include the New York Yankees in the coming month.

FANCHEST is part of a bigger concept called #FOMENTS, short for “Fan Moments.”  Whether it’s exclusive merchandise, tickets to a game, or behind the scenes access, FANCHEST hopes to capture and facilitate the very best Fan Moments. For example, a few lucky fans received a nice surprise with their last FANCHEST – autographed memorabilia from Rangers’ legends.


Transitioning from Wall Street, one aspect of working on a startup that has surprised Jeff is the amount and breadth of work that it requires to launch a new product. He comes from a world that is highly structured and regulate. Startups are the complete opposite. “It’s been a wild ride, and a lot of work so far. That being said, I love what’s happening and I’m really excited for the future.”

For more information on FANCHEST, visit them at www.fanchest.com.

KAEO Startups: Rivalry Races

The KAEO Startups series features entrepreneurs and the businesses they are creating in the sports industry. Click here or the logo to see of all previously featured startups.


KAEO The Details:
Name: Rivalry Races
Launched: First race, December 2013
Founders: Matt Linick
Concept: Races that combine the popularity of college football with running in a team-style format.
Website: RivalryRaces.com
Twitter: @RivalryRaces
Facebook: RivalryRaces on Facebook

Running’s popularity continued to increase throughout 2013. Thanks in part to the sport’s low barrier or entry and an increased focus on healthy living, races can be found in towns and cities across the country every weekend (and sometimes even during the week!). Unlike sports such as basketball and football where equipment and field/court time may be at a premium, a good pair of running shoes is all a runner needs to get started.

Companies looking to harness running’s increased popularity also face a low barrier of entry – a few city permits, some timing mats, a free race t-shirt – and you’re ready to go. Unfortunately for avid runners, this uptick in races hasn’t meant more well-organized or unique events. Runners are now paying $25-$50 for a 5K on the same running route they usually run except this time there are cones to protect runners from the cars and a finishing mat to run through. They are basically paying for the right to be timed. For many runners, local races are becoming as monotonous as strip malls.

Matt Linick and Rivalry Races are taking the monotony out of 5Ks. Rivalry Races combines the passion for college football with road races. The 10K/5K competitions give college football rivalries a new twist and include a scoring system so individuals can compete on behalf of their school affiliation. In addition to the 10K or 5K course, runners will complete several tasks along the course including the QB Toss and LB Flag Grab. Points are accumulated and tallied to determine a winning school for the race.

The first Rivalry Race, dubbed “The Nation’s Race” was held on December 14, 2013 before the Army vs. Navy game in Philadelphia, PA. Eight races are slated for the 2014 college football seasons including stops in Dallas (Red River Rivalry, Texas vs. Oklahoma) and East Lansing (Paul Bunyan Trophy, Michigan vs. Michigan State).

Army defeated Navy in the inaugural Rivalry Race, 366-319.

Running Away is Rivalry Races parent company. They have been organizing races and running-based tourism groups for four years including the Memorial Day Races and the Fall Foliage Half Marathon in The Berkshires, MA and Rhinebeck, NY respectively.

Linick has primarily focused on grassroots marketing to promote the races since each race is in a different city and caters to a specific audience. Finding his niche in the college space, Linick has been careful about how he brands Rivalry Races so as not to infringe on rights of the universities involved in the races. Linick admits that some universities are more receptive to Rivalry Races than others. Most welcome the race and often grant Linick use of school logos, but others are less inclined to share their university assets or likenesses.

For more information on Rivalry Races, visit www.RivalryRaces.com.