HOLLAND — A $555,000 investment gives a Holland-based sports-related mobile application developer the seed capital it needs to pursue additional clients and grow the business.
JMBP Ventures LLC secured the funding from 10 investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A “good chunk” of the money came from West Michigan investors, said co-founder and President Jason Mejeur.
Founded in June 2014 by Mejeur, the varsity basketball coach at Holland Christian High School, and business partner Brian Pageau, JMBP Ventures developed an app known as Programax that’s designed to bridge the “ever-increasing gap between athletes and the way they operate, and coaches and the way they operate,” Mejeur said. Ryan Vanderpool serves as a technology co-founder in the company.
“Very digital and technologically savvy” young athletes today tend to “live several hours a day with their eyes on their phones,” Mejeur said. That’s in contrast to many coaches who still “use pencils and paper and clipboards for a lot of what they need to manage their programs,” he said.
“Because of that, coaches aren’t as effective and athletes aren’t as engaged,” Mejeur said. “At a high level, we’re an all-in-one training app that empowers smart coaches to develop better athletes.”
Coaches can buy and use Programax to deliver customized videos for off-season skills drills and strength and conditioning workouts, plus messaging and scheduling. The app also tracks and posts the results of each athlete on a leaderboard. The technology includes an enterprise software that “manages all of the things a coach would do in an office so that they can do that more effectively and efficiently and get them out of the office, onto the court or the field,” Mejeur said.
Programax has been on the market for about a year and counts about 400 customers who pay an annual subscription fee to use the app, which runs $250 a year for a single athletic program and $1,000 for a full athletic department. The user base, which has grown 10 percent month-to-month, equates to 1,700 coaches and 13,000 amateur athletes playing 13 sports in 45 states.
The company has built a fledgling customer base on a $1,500-per-month marketing budget, primarily using email marketing. The company also generates revenue from sports trainers who pay to have their streaming workout videos on the app.
The recent capital investment will allow the company to step up marketing and hire additional software developers.
JMBP Ventures continues to seek additional investors for another $295,000 round of seed capital, which it hopes to wrap up by early 2017. A successful raise would bring the total seed funding to $850,000, Mejeur said. The firm intends to begin raising a $2 million to $5 million Series A capital round in 2018, Mejeur said.
Wakestream Ventures is among the company’s investors.
The company initially started out with $5,000 that it won after pitching to 5x5 Night in Grand Rapids, plus $30,000 invested by friends and family.
The partners in JMBP Ventures, which presently employs five people, recently participated in a 12-week program this fall at the sports business accelerator and innovation hub Stadia Ventures in St. Louis, Mo. Mejeur credits the program with helping to prepare the company to secure venture capital and angel investments and giving “momentum within our business as well.”
In a pitch during a recent Demo Day hosted by Stadia Ventures, Mejeur estimated the U.S. market potential of Programax at $500 million with 68 million users through coaches, athletes and parents.
JMBP Ventures projected 2016 revenues of $100,000, expects to hit 1 million users in early 2019, and should reach profitability in the third quarter of 2019, according to Mejeur.