founder

Founder Profile: Bringing Pro Athletes To Youth Sports With Marcus Davis Co-Founder And CEO of Apex Sports

Summary

As of August 27th, Apex Sports had raised $11.2K of the current round

Youth sports more than ever play a significant role in the American family household. Families also happen to spend a significant amount of cash on making sure their kids are involved and excelling at sports.

In fact, in 2017 the kids sports industry was a $15B industry. It’s a market where parents are willing to part with their hard earned dollars to ensure their kids can perform at a top level. With such a staggering market size, which I don’t think most people would expect, Marcus and his team at Apex Sports, decided to create a brand new coaching solution brought to youth athletes by the pros.

Their scalable online approach that brings the stars of the game into your living room to learn from is pretty awesome and overall cost affordable.

Learn more about this investment opportunity in our latest Founder Profile with Marcus Davis, Co-Founder & CEO of Apex Sports.
Chris Lustrino

Can you provide us with a bit of background on yourself and how you decided to build Apex Sports?

Marcus Davis

I am a lifelong athlete from Columbus, OH that has been passionate about football for as long as I can remember. I was extremely fortunate throughout my football career because I was able to learn my position directly from my uncle and NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver, Cris Carter.

After my playing days were over and I reflected on my football career, I realized how much of an impact the insight that I got from my uncle had on my development in sports and as a person. I attribute a great deal of my success, including earning a division one football scholarship, to being coached by one of the best to ever play the game.

With this in mind, I began to wonder how much better athletes around the world could be if they were able to learn directly from the best like I did. Enter Apex Sports.

After talking to hundreds of youth athletes, parents and coaches, our team realized that there was a massive problem in the youth sports coaching industry: quality coaching is inaccessible for athletes due to financial constraints, location and a limited personal network. This discovery led our team to begin our journey of giving all athletes access to professional coaching.

Chris Lustrino

Though you are a young founding team, what advisors have you put in place to help get the business off the ground?

Marcus Davis

Our advisory board consists of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, Former NBA Head Coach Butch Carter and NFL Linebackers Joshua Perry and Brandon Chubb.These advisors play a major role in making key connections to athletes as well as providing insight on content planning and product development.

Our team also graduated from the UpTech Accelerator earlier this year (Top 30 in U.S) and we continue to leverage a number of key advisors that we met through the program in all of the different facets of our business.

Chris Lustrino

How does Apex Sports differentiate from a service like Coach Up?

Marcus Davis

Apex Sports differentiates from all of the competition in the space in two major ways: the credentials of our athletes and affordability.

Apex Sports only works with the highest quality of athletes that have accumulated a wealth of knowledge throughout their careers that can’t be matched by local coaches. All of the content on our platform is proven and we’re able to give insight on how to reach the game’s highest level from people who have actually done it themselves.

Additionally, Apex Sports is completely web-based which allows us to provide our customers with a much more affordable solution than the alternatives.

Chris Lustrino

Who is the target customer of Apex Sports?

Marcus Davis

Our target customer are amateur athletes ages 13-18, parents of these athletes and middle/high school coaches/leagues.

Chris Lustrino

Can you talk about the monetization strategy of the platform and how are you finding willingness to pay?

Marcus Davis

We monetize our product in two ways: Charging on an a la carte basis for the courses offered on our platform and corporate sponsorships.

We have a tiered pricing model for the courses offered on our platform depending on the credentials of the professional athlete that developed the course. Athletes, parents and coaches make a one time purchase for each course that they want to enroll in and will receive lifetime access to the content included in that individual course (not a subscription model that provides access to all Apex Sports content). Due to the nature of sports and the fact that much of our content is position-specific, this model is most valuable for our customers.

We also are able to monetize our platform by implementing corporate sponsorships into our courses. Through our technology and relationships with professional athletes, we’re able to provide significant value to corporate organizations through athlete endorsements and extended exposure to the athletic demographic that uses our platform.

We are finding that our customers are very pleased with our model. Athletes, parents and coaches find significant value in being able to learn from a pro through our technology and we validated our corporate sponsorship model by reaching an agreement with Lasso Gear. We’re expecting to generate roughly $1,500 in revenue this month with a limited course catalog and marketing budget.

Chris Lustrino

What are your cost to produce each video and how do athletes get paid?

Marcus Davis

The main costs to be considered for each course that we produce are production equipment, staff and facility rental. The average cost to produce each course is roughly $3,000.

Prior to producing the course, we negotiate a revenue share agreement with our partner athletes and pay them residually each month after the course has launched. The beauty in this model is that our partner athletes will receive monthly income for essentially one day of up-front work and the revenue share agreement incentivizes our athletes to promote the course heavily through their social media and other marketing platforms.

Chris Lustrino

What athletes do you currently have involved with Apex Sports and how do you source them and get them bought in?

Marcus Davis

To date we have partnered with 7 NFL Players: Cardale Jones  (QB LA Chargers), Joshua Perry (LB Seattle Seahawks), Brandon Chubb (LB Tennessee Titans), Tavarres King (WR Minnesota Vikings), Tyvis Powell (DB San Francisco 49ers), Storm Norton (OL Minnesota Vikings) and Donovan Clark (OL LA Chargers).

A major competitive advantage for us is our founder’s and board member’s network in the sports space. We leveraged this network to get the company off the ground and built our first few partnerships with pro athletes. From there, we have strategically brought on 3 NFL players as investors (Joshua Perry, Brandon Chubb, Tyvis Powell) and will leverage their networks to expand more rapidly.

Working with Apex Sports provides two main points of value for professional athletes: residual financial gains through our revenue share model and the opportunity to grow their personal brand. Professional athletic careers are extremely short and Apex Sports is allowing professional athletes to create an additional stream of income and further grow their brand which as a result can lead to additional opportunities.

Chris Lustrino

How many customers do you think you need in order to have a break even business?

Marcus Davis

We project that we will need roughly 300 monthly customers to have a break even business.

Chris Lustrino

What channels are you finding most effective for customer acquisition and what early signs of traction do you have?

Marcus Davis

Social media has been our most effective marketing channel. All of our partner athletes are contractually required to promote their Apex Sports courses multiple times after the course has launched. This provides us with the ability to reach a massive audience (2M+ Followers for Cardale Jones) that is very targeted at essentially no cost to us.

In terms of traction, we have on-boarded nearly 500 users to the Apex Sports platform since March and have a 100% growth rate each month with a marketing budget of zero. We will generate roughly $1,500 in revenue this month and fully expect a major increase next month as we will be releasing two new courses.

Chris Lustrino

Have you considered a strategy to pursue selling to youth sports leagues to scale faster?

Marcus Davis

We are very interested in selling to youth sports leagues in order to scale faster. We are currently in discussions with multiple leagues with 15+ teams. Reaching an agreement with these leagues will allow us to reach a much larger number of athletes at once while lowering the price point for our customers.

Chris Lustrino

Can you talk about the partnership you have with Under Armour for Lacrosse?

Marcus Davis

In late September, we will launch a partnership with Under Armour Lacrosse. As part of the partnership, Under Armour Lacrosse will provide us with their sponsored Lacrosse athletes to produce Lacrosse courses. These courses will then be hosted on the Apex Sports platform and will be promoted by both Under Armour Lacrosse and Apex Sports.

Additionally, Under Armour Lacrosse will be releasing a new line of Lacrosse equipment within the next few months. Attached to each product will be a tag that includes a QR code which will direct customers to the Lacrosse courses that we will develop with the Under Armour Lacrosse athletes. This partnership will serve as a major launching point for Apex Sports by providing us with a seamless transition into a new sport market and will allow us to leverage the Under Armour Lacrosse marketing engine to expand rapidly.

Chris Lustrino

Why did you decide to pursue an equity crowdfunding round and how much do you plan to raise in total?

Marcus Davis

We decided to pursue an equity crowdfunding round because we understand how much of an impact sports have made on people around the world. We wanted to give the community with the opportunity to join a venture that will make a major impact on athletes. Our total raise is $150,000 which Wunderfund will play a significant role in (Hit the minimum 10K target this week).

Chris Lustrino

How will the capital you are raising be deployed to build the business?

Marcus Davis

The capital we are raising will be used for production costs for future courses including the Under Armour Lacrosse partnership. We will also use the capital to increase our monthly marketing budget and cover the other operational costs of the business.

The Apex Sports team provides a really intriguing, uniquely differentiated scalable online coaching offering by the pros themselves, which we at KingsCrowd think could have mass appeal.

With a young but focused founding team and the right people in place to help get the business off the ground, we see a real opportunity here.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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