System gives coaches a business edge

Ian Bishop was buried in paperwork. He was spending almost as much time in front of his computer as with clients on the tennis court.

“Here I was with a growing coaching business and a team of dedicated coaches and it’s embarrassing to admit, but I was running off 150 separate spreadsheets just to keep it all going.”

Bishop went shopping, and was surprised to find nothing like a Vend (software solutions for retailers) or Xero (accountancy software for small businesses) occupying the sports management niche. So together with his business partners, IT sales and marketing manager Shaun Fitzmaurice and web developer Matthew Skilton, decided to invent something. They called it Coachseek.

After putting the business concept through its paces in Wellington’s business accelerator Lightning Lab, they realised they had stumbled on to a much more common problem than anticipated, says Bishop, chief executive of Coachseek.
“We surveyed hundreds of coaches around the world, across many disciplines, and found that 80 per cent were using some form of spreadsheet or paper-based system to run their business, all to varying degrees of accuracy and reliability.

“So there’s an interesting paradox in the sports coaching industry where coaches are using cutting edge technology in their coaching, but are stuck with out-of-date systems for how they run their businesses.”

Bishop says he’s seen how technology has filtered into the everyday life of a sports coach, from heart-rate monitors to video analysis apps, but it hasn’t really reached the back office.

“Through the pain I was experiencing in my own business, I had a natural interest in understanding how technology could benefit the way a coach operates their business.”

Coachseek pitched for funds at Lightning Lab’s May demonstration day. By September, the company had secured more than $450,000 through Auckland’s angel (early-stage) investment group Ice Angels and Wellington’s AngelHQ.

First published on nzherald.co.nz 20 November 2014

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