Flip the narrative of downturn investing.
Justin Kaufenberg co-founded the SportsEngine software platform in 2008 to empower athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators to efficiently manage their athletic organizations.
The company began as the smallest player in a crowded market at the low point of the Great Recession. Rally was the lead investor in SportsEngine and our team worked directly with Justin as he built the company from an early-stage opportunity to the largest sports-focused SaaS and payments company in the world. The Rally team leveraged insights from the ‘01-’02 downturn, and our comprehensive investment playbook focused on People, Competition, and Customers.
With several companies in turmoil, SportsEngine scooped up all-star leaders including Brian Bell, Anna Klombies, Rick Ehrman, and Dan Kinsella, all veterans of the last downturn and many who had worked with Rally extensively in the past. Meanwhile, with the competition hemorrhaging customers and unable to raise money, SportsEngine pounced. The company’s new sales team efficiently harvested these customers while Rally brought in smart money from investors aligned with their contrarian approach.
Rally’s aggressive growth play turned the market’s conventional wisdom on its head. Where others build and invest during market upswings, Rally put money to work when it was scary. The playbook paid off. SportsEngine grew to well over $100 million in revenue, and in 2016 NBC Sports acquired SportsEngine and it continued to accelerate its growth through the remainder of Kaufenberg’s tenure.
SportsEngine is one of the seminal examples of the SaaS+ business model, which leverages traditional SaaS platforms to provide a broader set of value-add products to customers and generate significant new revenue streams for the provider.