In just two years, one company has become the playbook distributor of choice for half the National Football League.
Some 16 teams — including the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears – use its iPad app to share and annotate digital playbooks and game film. NFL teams pay $20,000 to $50,000 per year for the service.
PlayerLync, the unlikely little startup with the flashy customers, hails from Englewood, Colo. and was founded by former telecom execs.
It’s just raised “a large Series A round” from the Denver-based Anschutz Investment Co lead by Phil Anschutz, the billionaire who cofounded Major League Soccer and owns stakes in teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings.
PlayerLync co-founder and CEO Bob Paulsen posited in an interview today that his company’s advantage has been focusing on the backend of its collaboration platform, where other competitors — an example is Hudl — have poured their effort into design. (Don’t look now, but I think he just bragged about this product being ugly.)
PlayerLync’s tools include automatic content synchronization — so teams can load up everyone’s apps with new tape before they get on the plane after the game — as well as annotation via screen recording, voice and text. There are also extensive security measures.
In most cases, the teams are replacing burned DVDs and printed scouting reports.
In addition to breaking into other sports, PlayerLync is now starting to sell into retail, media and transportation fields. It’s also expanded from iPad to Windows 8 tablets, and plans to add Android soon.