Highlights from the Commonwealth Podcast, 11.4.19 – featuring David Graff and John Wirtz
The Commonwealth Podcast features artists, entrepreneurs and athletes to uncover their approach to leading disruptive change. Host Nick Castner provided this episode recap to Silicon Prairie News. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or Buzzsprout. This week, David Graff and John Wirtz, two of the founders of Hudl, sat down with The Commonwealth Podcast to discuss…
The Commonwealth Podcast features artists, entrepreneurs and athletes to uncover their approach to leading disruptive change. Host Nick Castner provided this episode recap to Silicon Prairie News. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or Buzzsprout.
This week, David Graff and John Wirtz, two of the founders of Hudl, sat down with The Commonwealth Podcast to discuss their approach to the global acquisitions their sport tech company has made out of Lincoln, NE.
Hudl started in 2006 as a sports technology company to help American football players and coaches break down film and analyze athletic performance. Hudl has raised $108.9 million of funding, the most Nebraska has ever seen, which they’ve used to fuel this global growth.
“Both of our first two [acquisitions, DSV and Apex,] were [made to] acquire their customers,” said David Graff, Hudl’s CEO. “On the first one, I think we brought over a few sales reps to join the team, but it was really about getting their customers to use our platform as fast as possible.”
Early investments like these have allowed Hudl to garner a 98 percent market-share in American football.
“In 2014, we acquired a company in the UK (Replay Analysis) to get into the global football market. They had a number of Premier League and rugby customers. Which was a growing, but a very small spread in Europe,” Graff said.
After Hudl’s first stint globally, the company focused on growing mobile users. In September 2014, Hudl acquired Boston-based Ubersense, adding 2.5 million users.
Graff continued: “Later that year in 2014, I was down in Australia for a conference where we were just trying to sell basketball coaches. I decided to reach back out to Sportstech. We started to get a little closer in how we both saw valuation of their business. We spent the next year getting that one to the finish line.”
This allowed Hudl to open an office on its third continent.
“In 2017, we bought Volleymetrics to strengthen our volleyball product. In 2018, we bought a company based out of the Netherlands that was doing really amazing things around automated capture,” Graff said.
He went on to discuss two acquisitions Hudl made this summer. “The first one was a company called Krossover, who we’ve talked to a number of times throughout the years…they have been in a similar space that we’re in right now of providing video breakdown for teams. The second one was an amazing company that’s been built out of this small town in Italy called Wyscout. They’ve been able to revolutionize scouting in global football. It’s a totally different world.”
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