A Q&A with LockerDome co-founder and CEO Gabe Lozano. The St Louis, Missouri–based company was founded in 2008.
SUB: What are your target markets?
Lozano: Our bread and butter is still the 6-18U club program sports market. We work directly with the program directors of the best club programs in the country, who then evangelize their program’s LockerDome network directly to their athletes, coaches and parents. For example, we work with over 50 of the top 100 amateur soccer programs in the U.S. and nearly 500 major programs nationwide. We additionally work with professional athletes to launch celebrity athlete networks, where their fan base can interact with them.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Lozano: Given our heavy focus on club programs, our largest competitors are still the traditional team management platforms, such as eteamz. In the consumer part of this space, there are several startups that have taken a crack, such as Weplay and Takkle, but none that have yet developed a critical mass of users.
SUB: What differentiates LockerDome from the competition?
Lozano: LockerDome is the first company in club sports to successfully demonstrate the value in a strong hyperlocal play within a global community. On a global level, individuals create a single profile that encapsulates their entire sports life—from the age of five to when they first experience the joy of sports competition to their parenthood when they vicariously relive the experience through their kids—and far beyond. Further, we’re the only dedicated sports site thus far that has successfully brought together little league athletes, parents, and coaches side-by-side with professional athletes.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Lozano: In 2008, but it’s only been the last few months that we’ve begun to move with serious velocity. We wasted a lot of time working on a huge business plan and other areas that equated mostly to non-productive motion. Additionally, it’s a tough market to crack, so we’ve done a lot of tweaking our approach, working to get the implementation right. There were two things initially we really needed to prove out before taking the next steps: how we were going to get the best athletes to care, and demonstrate that our platform is valuable enough for someone to swipe a credit card. Through a succession of directional tweaks, we accomplished both goals at once with the introduction of LockerDome Networks.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for LockerDome? Was there an “aha” moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Lozano: Our goal from day one has remained the same—we want to be the de facto identity layer for a person’s sports persona. Instead of a single “aha” moment, it’s been a gradual evolution of an idea that first originated from being involved in competitive baseball for 17 years. In particular, I was highly frustrated that 100 percent of the content and communication in sports happens in complete silos. Even though it’s been a haul, we’ve stuck with this market because sports have two key facets that make them particularly unique and valuable—people are more passionate about sports than anything I’ve ever seen and sports are one of the only things that completely transcend international borders. The passion and global appeal—combined with a huge market that is prime for disruption—make for an incredibly interesting opportunity.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Lozano: Raising capital and building a strong team for a consumer web company in the Midwest has been significant challenge. We’ve been fortunate enough to locally recruit a fantastic team and attract the financial resources needed to take meaningful steps forward.
SUB: You recently raised $750K in Angel funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Lozano: Continue to expand our team and further ramp up our marketing efforts.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Lozano: Absolutely. We’ve already received significant inbound interest from investors based on recent progress. We will be opening up another formal raise in the near future.
SUB: What are your goals for LockerDome over the next year or so?
LockerDome – www.lockerdome.com