NextPlay connects student athletes and alumni with a unique platform

Student athletes have many opportunities to network and market themselves. And contact with alumni can help them make the most of these opportunities. NextPlay provides a unique platform to foster these connections and more. Read about this unique offering in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What does the company do?

Provides custom mobile platforms for teams and student athletes.

CEO Kyle Mumma told Small Business Trends: “In some ways, the NextPlay platform is like LinkedIn. It’s a medium to share content and build professional connections. The main difference is in the exclusivity of each community. A private affinity network for a particular team or program where networking and engagement are driven in part by shared experience as athletes.”

Business niche

An easy way for current and former athletes to connect.

Mumma says: “Our platform is a hub for former players to stay involved with their squad, for current players to learn from those who came before them, and programs to build a legacy that will last for the rest of their lives after the game. game continues to exist.”

Business Origin Story

After working with student athletes at Duke University.

Mumma explains: “As a student at Duke University, I worked as a student manager for the men’s basketball team under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski. After graduation, I stayed with the team. And then also worked for the football team. Staying involved with Duke Athletics through graduate school at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

“After graduating from Fuqua in the spring of 2018, I was offered a full-time job by Deloitte (one of the four largest accounting firms in the country) in the firm’s consulting practice. And I would start in the fall. Then came August and I made a sharp turn. Rather than take the job, I decided to turn my attention to finding a solution to the many challenges that collegiate athletes face when it comes time to leave their sport.”

Biggest win

Getting their first customer.

Mumma says: “We had early interest from a number of schools in our services. But in the end, it was a cold email to Campbell University that led to our first sale. The first euro for a startup is always special. But especially in an athletics industry where so many people act based on what their competitors are doing. We had to get a paying customer on board to have legitimacy. And Campbell was willing to take a risk, which immediately helped us get additional customers on board.”

Biggest risk

Don’t hire a CTO during the early stages.

Mumma adds: “There was pressure from investors, partners and customers to bring development in-house as quickly as possible and hire an experienced CTO. But the company’s cash position simply made it impossible. Rather than building a relationship with an inexperienced CTO to satisfy those stakeholders, we built the foundation of our platform with a third-party development partner. Given our founding team’s lack of technical expertise, this could easily have backfired with a poorly made product that lacked the necessary infrastructure for scalability.

“Fortunately, we took the time to consider a wide range of external partners. And we consulted with technical experts in space. Although we lacked technical expertise in-house, the cumulative expertise of our network enabled us to select a quality development partner and build an outstanding product. We are still working with our original development partner.”

Lesson learned

Waiting too long to grow.

Mumma explains: “In the beginning we could have grown faster. There is a tendency to wait for customer feedback until the product is ‘finished’. But in reality it is never really finished. The sooner a minimally viable product hits the market, the sooner you can get invaluable feedback for the next iteration.”

How would they spend an extra $100,000?

Building infrastructure for college athletes to be compensated for their name, image or likeness.

Mumma says, “If we had an additional $100,000 we would invest in our NIL infrastructure so schools can leverage our powerful networks, not just for alumni engagement, networking and mentorship. But also to realize NIL opportunities.”


Knowledge of a legendary coach.

Mumma says, “The name and purpose of our company is inspired by legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s ‘Next Play’ philosophy that encourages players to look to the future rather than the past.”

Image: Next Games, Kyle Mumma

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