After talking with a retired basketball professional at a state tournament who was looking for a way to connect with youth in need of coaching, CEO and Founder Frank Emsick had an idea for a new type of social platform.
Social networks aren’t built overnight though, and now Emsick is learning first-hand that it takes a village to build a social network. After two years of design and discussion with coaches and performing arts directors at all age and specialty levels, Emsick came to the current iteration of his platform launching in January.
Uvolv is a concepted website and software application that will focus on helping youth reach their potential in an activity and save lifelong memories.
“The way we describe it to people today, you have Facebook profiles and you have LinkedIn profiles,” said Emsick. “Where we’re focused with Uvolv is letting anyone have whatever profile they want to have at whatever point in their life they want to have it.”
By focusing on a gap in current social websites, Emsick believes that what he’s concepting will fulfill a market need that doesn’t yet have a network.
Uvolv users can create specialized profiles that promote a certain area of interest or talent. Emsick said the site has the networking feel of a Linkedin and is more specialized than Facebook, and can be used by all ages from youth through retirement.
“It’s meant to help focus on the multiple profiles people take on throughout their lives, and to provide a place for them to keep and maintain those memories,” said Emsick.
Emsick also believes in community involvement and is developing the application to help youth and youth leaders to promote themselves and their programs. The Uvolv development team also thought of how to engage retired coaches and directors so that they too can continue to share their knowledge and experience.
During the research process, Emsick also talked to people who specialize in performing arts. They also lacked an effective way to share their skills with people outside their immediate physical area and personal network.
“They really have no good way of sharing information with multiple colleges across the countries and the colleges really don’t have a good way of finding those types of people that they would like to add to their college,” said Emsick. It’s really a pretty diverse approach.”
The application also has the potential of improving the recruitment pool for smaller colleges that often get overlooked by students.
“Divisions II, III, and NAIA colleges are overlooked by youth because of the perceived prominence the larger Division I schools receive,” said Emsick. “Even so much so that often high school seniors opt out of pursuing their dreams of playing sports or performing in college because they were not recruited/noticed.”
Emsick and his team are also working on creating an innovative video app for managing and quickly editing videos for highlights.
“One of the biggest challenges people have with creating highlight videos, whether they’re singing, dancing, performing or in sports, is actually creating the highlight video,” said Emsick. “Uvolv will have an exciting video content interface.”
Right now Uvolv is starting with a few concepted profiles and then adding more profiles that people can choose from within the system. Emsick has found that sourcing experts in particular fields has been a challenge and they’re always looking to connect to people with in new professions.
Emsick’s vision is not just a network for people to socialize and meet, but rather a place for true community building in the real world. He views this new social application as an opportunity for students of all ages, high school and college coaches at all levels, and parents to connect and share access to resources, not just blue-chip prospects.
“Building this innovative application will provide parents of all socioeconomic backgrounds assurance that they are able to promote their child to their potential in the least expensive way possible,” said Emsick. “Simply put, it should not cost parents thousands of dollars just to get their child noticed. It will also help coaches, both current and retired, to share their experience – their gifts.”