Episode #293: Kevin MacCauley, CEO, Upper Hand

Episode #293: Kevin MacCauley, CEO, Upper Hand

Kevin MacCauley


Pete Moore: This is your host, Pete Moore. And I am pleased and humbled to announce the launch of my one and only book titled time to win again, 50 takeaways from playing and watching team sports to guarantee your business success. Those of you who know me personally, and then when of was listens to halo talks or any length of time, know that I am an avid sports fan and a big believer in the value of team sports. What I’ve seen over the past 25 years, helping businesses grow raising capital, being an entrepreneur myself in coaching and mentoring executives in the sector. It’s the lessons learned on the field perfectly apply to business entrepreneurs, executives, managers, you name it. Every company that’s a strong company has got a good team. So quick read. There’s also illustrations in there from our good friend market cruelty free cartoons. We go to integrity, q.com. Enter your email address, and we will send you information on the book and the entrepreneur wars survival kit as well. Be great. Take names go halo.

Pete Moore: This is Pete Moore on HALO Talks, NYC broadcasting live from Nicki Blaine’s downtown Indianapolis with my good friend, Kevin McCauley, I’m in from upper and software. Kevin, welcome to the show.

Kevin MacCauley: Pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me Pete.

Pete Moore: Awesome. Well, we were able to meet in person, which is nice to do post pandemic. As I want to refer to this chapter of our lives, not during the pandemic. We are officially post pandemic, and I want to talk about your background and how you are attacking the halo sector. So you want to start off with your with your sports background and an entrepreneurial background and we’ll kind of riff from there.

Kevin MacCauley: Yeah, that’d be awesome. You know, keep it simple. And, and we’ll jump went to Indiana university Kelley school of business in startup world business life for pretty much my entire career come from a big baseball family. Sports family, rather brother played pro ball. I got a nephew at Butler right now. But really the, the thing that excites me about the space we’re in is as a coach myself in Washington, DC, I was, I was coaching a youth baseball started having parents come to me say, Hey, my kid would love to learn more about pitching or hitting or whatever it might be. And, you know, knowing some of the coaches you run across in youth sports. I said, man, absolutely, I’d love to do that. Right. growing up as a kid myself, to get better, you just throw a ball against the wall, you know whereas now it’s, you know, specialized training and getting, starting to get more and more into fitness.

Kevin MacCauley: Don’t share. We’ll talk about that more later. But so I started doing lessons and in that experience, you know, after an hour lesson with a kid you’d, you know, check from a parent with, you know, putting your sweaty pocket just a terrible way to do business and super awkward by the way. And it was in that experience that I started to recognize an opportunity to really do better business in sports and fitness. And so we started actually as a marketplace helping connect parents and coaches and trainers you know, with qualified coaches. And through that experience we recognize one of the key aspects of what we do today is just the experience, you know, connecting people you don’t know, and on two sides of marketplace to transact online and an e-commerce transaction something that is, you know, for our industry, fairly new relative to how long e-comm has been around and other industries.

Kevin MacCauley: And so we recognize that we figured out the marketplace side, you have the business piece, we started to learn, man marketplaces are tough. You know, it’s like a match.com. You meet somebody. Why the hell would you keep going back through it? It’s a fee-based thing. But we saw other people’s continuing to go through it. And I went and met with them in person, you know, we go down to base offices, like, why do you guys keep sending your parents through marketplace? And you know, the response I get, man, there’s nothing to run this business today. You know, we’ve got no way to schedule, you know, our lessons. We got no way to get them paid for them, communicate, et cetera. And so that’s where we really started to focus on building software in our space.

Pete Moore: Gotcha. Cool. And then from a standpoint of kind of, you know, pivoting from a marketplace into, you know, powering the mission, critical software and billing on behalf of large multi-sport facilities or franchise ores or enterprise, you know, what kind of gave you the inroads to say, yeah, I know that there’s some software companies out there, but look, I’m coming from a different perspective. I’m coming from, you know, the member perspective. I’m not coming from, you know, I have a frustration. I used to run my own facility, but let me tell you how I think your facility should run. And like maybe redefining like that. If, if a sports facility is the authority in their community, then what should they be able to do with their software? How do they think about their software differently?

Kevin MacCauley: No, that’s a great question. You know, and, and people would say our space is crowded, but I’d say our space is fairly new. You know, when we started out and I’d go to those facilities, I mean, that was what 6, 7, 8 years ago. Most of the people we compete with are older than that. You know, so it’s not that they’re not options on the market, but there’s, there’s nothing that runs that, that sports or fitness business. And when I talk about running the business, we’re talking about it in terms of, you know, just like any other industry, you try to run a business, right? It’s all about the consumer. It’s all about the experience that that member or buyer has. And it’s not just processing a payment, right? It’s not just putting somebody on a schedule or roster, or even getting access to that data, which some you can’t really do in majority of platforms today.

Kevin MacCauley: It’s how do you now start thinking about, you know, with the rise of Peloton and digital, you know, digital disruption in our space, athlete progression, you know, how has software helping that business owner who is an expert in fitness or an expert in baseball or football, whatever it is, help them deliver the value of what they’re doing to help a consumer know they’re getting better. I mean, you pay thousands and thousands of dollars, something like you have 20% of us income parents have spent on youth sports and fitness, and it’s the one industry where you actually have no idea if you’re getting any better, you know, until apple health came along and get your apple watch, right? You got whoop. You named you named the, the accessory. And so there’s this massive rise of, you know, knowledge and information for consumers, which is really exciting, but who’s the platform that’s going to help solve that. Right. And I, I believe upper hand is best positioned to do that.

Pete Moore: So when you talk about athlete progression, which isn’t a term that is widely used in our industry yet, you know, define what that means and, and the technology that you’ve built and then how that information gets back to either the trainer or the club owner and how that kind of keeps somebody, you know, I usually say, you know, results is what keeps a metaphor, right? It’s not a death, you know, just their routine. It’s like, Hey, I see physical, mental, and social results.

Kevin MacCauley: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great question because really to get there, there’s step one, step one is you have to be able to have visibility into the data for the business first, right? So if I’ve got a family with three kids, you need to be able to find that from a data perspective inside that software, otherwise there’s, we’re never going to get to progression tracking. So building a platform that is architected in a way that today I can plug into our production database, we can start querying and pulling any report we want on the business. Right. and we’re continuing to improve and refine that with that in place. Now we can focus on progression of an athlete, which is really very similar, like Fitbits the app, right? Apple fitness, like you look at all these apps and they, they create these workouts for you.