Case Study

SportsEngine

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. But while others were running for safety, Rally guided Kaufenberg and SportsEngine to seize the moment. They turned insights from the ‘01-’02 downturn into a startlingly accurate prediction of what would happen next. Their 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 emerged in 2012 as the largest company in Sports Tech and in 2016 NBC Sports acquired SportsEngine and it continued to accelerate its growth through the remainder of Kaufenberg’s tenure.