Funded

Varsity News Network

ESPN.com for high schools. varsitynewsnetwork.com

What's the big idea?

Over 30-million Americans have a direct relative playing high school sports.  Local media can only cover the biggest games, leaving over 95% of these consumers without the media coverage they demand.

Varsity News Network is the ESPN.com of high school sports.  In solving a problem for Athletic Directors through a unique, content-focused athletics web platform, VNN generates media coverage for athletes from every sport.  This content aggregates a hyper-local audience, creating a segmented platform for local and regional advertising.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

BigTeams, iHigh and 8to18Media are VNN’s primary competition within the school market.  They exist to satisfy schools’ growing need to promote their sports teams, but they don’t solve the process problems that create content, which VNN solves.

How are you different from that player?

Schools produce content consistently for VNN sites without the Athletic Director spending effort, making it an easy sell to Athletic Directors, and a more highly trafficked solution for advertisers. 
VNN also generates meaningful revenue for participating schools.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

VNN has validated a profitable and scalable outside sales model.  In this model, the basis for VNN’s projections, one rep can sell an average of 2.5 new school platforms and $9,000 in incremental advertising per month. VNN reps are tracking to those numbers after a 60-day ramp-up period.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

Team has experienced leadership in sports, sales and technology.  Ryan & Matt founded Varsity News Network, each of them coming from a successful startup in the high school sports arena.  Randy brings experience running a $250M K-12 sales organization, and Topher is a leading Wordpress developer.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

When we were first funded by Startgarden (then Momentum), our theory was that high school athletic directors would pay for sports information websites.  As such, the experiment we ran was to sell the sites directly to Athletic Directors, and after 90 days we had sold websites to six schools in MI.

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This idea was funded by Start Garden staff endorsement on November 08, 2012. Since then...

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