Listen to insights from Ron Moravek, co-founder at SportNinja, a mobile first statistics platform for amateur sports. Ron is an experienced entrepreneur with three startup exits and former executive at large video game companies such as EA Sports.
- COMPANY: Genesis of idea, target market, revenue model, customers acquisition, tracking metrics, and product development.
- PERSONAL: Finding solutions to challenges, getting help, constant learning, founder networks, daily tools, work-life balance, and lessons learned.
[0:17] Anil Hemrajani: Welcome to Inside the Startup, the show where we look at how startups operate. I’m Anil Hemrajani, the founder of Startup Psychic. My guest today is Ron Moravek. He’s a co-founder and investor at SportNinja. Ron is an experienced entrepreneur and executive with three startup exits. Ron has also worked as a Senior Executive for over 20 years in the video game space with companies like THQ, EA Sports, Nexon and Keyword. SportNinja was founded in 2017 with the mission to become a mobile first statistics platform for amateur sports. It’s currently offered as a free mobile app. Welcome Ron. How’s it going today?
[1:06] Ron Moravek: It’s great. Thank you for having me.
[1:08] Anil Hemrajani: No, thank you for doing this. I mean, you’ve got such an impressive bio. You know, I just, like I was saying earlier, I can’t wait to tell my kids that I interviewed you. So-
[1:18] Ron Moravek: Thank you.
[1:19] Anil Hemrajani: So let’s start with your company SportNinja. You know, I mean, it totally makes sense, you know, because having been involved with my kids’ sports through their whole, you know, kind of K to 12 years and just using a lot of paper, right. I mean, basically for score sheets and teams and all that kind of stuff, but can you just start with like what your value proposition is in your own words?
[1:45] Ron Moravek: Yeah. You know, it really started with the problem that we were looking at and, you know, I’ve got four boys, myself who have been involved in sports for all their lives. And we just started looking at how leagues were primarily driven or organizations and leagues were primarily driven by volunteers, you know, parents themselves and, you know, had a massive paper problem. And which we saw fundamentally that translated into a data problem. You know, everything that you’re putting down, whether it be you know, the statistics of the game, whether it be, you know, goals, penalties, and so forth, or even just attendance and so forth. And what we kind of saw was that there was a real opportunity especially with how massive mobile is today and how it continues to grow. We just saw there was a massive opportunity to bring a mobile platform and provided to the leagues to help them run their leagues and to track their data and to just make it, make the whole experience that much better.
So that’s kind of, you know, where we got started and then from there we just kind of, you know, expanding how we could provide value to the leagues and to the parents, because there’s kind of fundamentally two audiences, which is kind of the challenge and the interesting part about it, because you have the leagues that are trying to run these events, competitions, and so forth, but then you have the parents who are just trying to get their kids to the events and then track what they’re doing and track their attendance and everything. And then of course, you’ve got the crazies and, you know, I think as parents, we all kind of maybe become a little crazy for our kids sometimes and you know, wanting to be the best they can be and so forth. So, you know, that’s how we got rolling and we just wanted to solve the paper problem.
[3:45] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, just, you know, because like, I mean, it’s like everybody’s got a Smartphone these days, and so to be able to score games on the device, manage the teams and get, you know, even the cool part, the getting live game updates, I could just see like parents that might not be able to, you know, ‘cause there’s parents that kind of run kids around, you know, like, and so if one parent can’t make it just to be able to get those kinds of score updates, it’s huge, huge benefit. So like, how did you guys validate the idea? Like, have you, you know, you talk to parents, talk to leagues?
[4:18] Ron Moravek: Yeah. Early on what we did and I think I learned this from my past experience is you kind of got to get out there and talk to the people. So we went out to leagues. We started talking about the idea, but, you know, leagues and parents, you know, just frankly speaking, they’re not technology people and people learn by seeing. So we spent a little bit of money and developed a, kind of a visualization video of what we were thinking and how the app would work. So we could just open it up on the mobile phone and the video kind of walked through what we were thinking. And when we went out to the leagues, it was really interesting. We showed them and it was like, yeah, that looks great. How much? And I think that that kind of uncovered another challenge we saw in the industry, which was, you know, two things, as I said earlier, there’s two different, you know, people. There’s the leagues and then there’s the parents and the participants.
So, you know, one of the things we saw in the space was that there were a bunch of companies out there, whether it be sports engine on the league side, you know, sports engine and, you know, game sheet and all these other guys who are going to leagues and charging them for tools. You know, whether it be hockey, TB, or league stat and all these other guys, which I thought was interesting because here you have all these businesses. And I think I was thinking of it from a parent point of view is you have all these leagues who are non-profits, who are then as, and then these businesses going to them and trying to charge them for tools. And I was like, well, that’s a challenge. You know, like that’s kind of, frankly that’s kind of a crappy business to get into, you know, trying to sell tools to people who don’t have money is probably not the best idea.
On the other side of the coin, you had a lot of the parents and participants who were buying different tools. Team snap, you know, there’s, what do you call it? Game changer and all these other tools were like, just tracking their time. And, but they weren’t connected. These tools weren’t connected to the league tools. So each of these were kind of siloed. So you know, what we did is we started looking at it. We said, okay, well, even if we solve the problem for the leagues, providing a mobile tool platform, you know, I don’t think it’s the best idea to try to charge them for it. So then what we did was said, okay, well, what’s the best thing to do. And we started really digging into the size of amateur sports in the United States in particular. And you know, TD did a bunch of studies on it and what we found out was that it’s close to a $200 billion industry in the US, which is three times the size of pro sports.
And what’s interesting about that, not including betting. What’s interesting about that is that the money isn’t being spent by the leagues, it’s being spent by the participants. So then it kind of presented an interesting challenge for us is that how do we solve the league’s problems and then how do we solve some of the parents’ problems? But how do we then, you know, go after some of that $200 billion and make our company and our model, you know, and make it work. And so what we came up with was that we would provide the tools to the leagues for free. And then we would do a revenue share with the leagues based upon the money that participants would spend on the platform, whether that be registrations or subscriptions or video, or what have you. And that’s how we ended up with our monetization strategy.
[8:13] Anil Hemrajani: Okay. So, yeah, that was one of my questions, like the revenue model. So you’re talking about like, with the parents, if they’re, you know, enrolling their kids and whatever they’re paying, like that would be like the rev share, basically the things like that?
[8:27] Ron Moravek: We would do everything on digital revenue, right? So, you know, if, you know, leaves need tools, and right now everybody and his brother offers registration tools, but it’s not kind of integrated with all the statistics. So if you look at, you know, what’s possible, it’s like, well, you got registration, you know, you’ve got subscriptions for value-based add on. So whether let’s say you’re bring wearables or your video or your, you know, everything that you can buy, and then you might have retail as well. So we’ve got the opportunity to create a marketplace. And then what that opened up for us was the opportunity for leagues to offer additional services. So right now, if your kids let’s say he’s, you know, playing basketball and he wants to have some extra training, it’s like, how do you find those trainers right now?
It’s like everything, virtually everything you do in amateur sports when they’re young, let’s call that five to 18, is all through word of mouth or else you get on these email chains. So what we want to do is to be able to provide this marketplace kind of like, are you familiar with mind, body?
[9:40] Anil Hemrajani: No.
[9:41] Ron Moravek: Well, mind body is a yoga and strength training app. So basically what they do is they charge people to be listed on their service. And then you can book those through mind body. So let’s say, for example, I want to go to a yoga class and I’m in Los Angeles. I would open up mind body and I see, oh, here’s all these yoga classes listed. So two things they do; first, they charge people to be listed on their marketplace. And second, then they charge a registration fee for that, right? So their charges range from about $75 to 275 a month for just companies to be listed.
So, you know, we thought by having this monetization strategy, it not only helps the leagues because they need money. You know, they’re all volunteers, they need a way to make money. They need to be able to connect with their participants and stay in touch with them, right. And they need to be able to provide services to their community. And then on the other side of it, for the community and the participants, what do they need? Well, you know, they, as you said, you know, they want to keep track of when are there events, you know, we lost today’s game. When do we play in next? You know, and if everything’s interconnected with the league, then they’re kind of getting all the, I would call it the team snap functionality of being notified, but then they also have all the value-based services that they’re already paying for, you know, by kind of searching the community for training for their kids. So I think it’s a win-win as far as that, as far as we’re concerned.
[11:23] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, it makes sense. And so I want to pivot to like how you guys go about acquiring, you know, customers, but like what’s just a couple of questions about your company. So are you guys funded or bootstrap right now?
[11:36] Ron Moravek: Yeah, we’re funded. We’re just finished out our seed round. You know, I don’t know if you guys get to it, but, you know, we basically through, I would call it angel guys, through myself, angel guys that I know as well as some connections I have, we did a seed round and that gave us a couple of million dollars US to get moving.
[12:01] Anil Hemrajani: Okay. And what’s the team makeup right now? I know you guys are, you know, startup, but-
[12:06] Ron Moravek: Yeah. Yeah. Well, we have our founder group where there’s three of us. We have a CTO, a CMO and myself, and then we have three in-house programmers that are developing the app. And then we’ve used offshore and contracted people to do specific work that we might need. So, as an example, we, you know, we did some integrations with a customer where they needed Salesforce integration. So we did, we connected with an individual that’ll help us program that. And we had a couple of individuals down in Latin America that helped us with some of the backend programming.
[12:46] Anil Hemrajani: Okay. That makes sense. No, I mean, you guys are going about this the right way. ‘Cause I even liked the video, you know, based validation. That’s how Dropbox started with just a video, you know? So, on the customer side, I mean, you know, because I could see this being used, you know, by like small leagues, but even more professional. So what is your kind of target customer profile right now and how do you guys acquire them?
[13:12] Ron Moravek: That’s a good question. And I think it’s something that, you know, I’m a big believer in kind of anything you do, it’s iteration, right. Trial and error, you know, you’re going to fail lots and what’s the saying, fail fast. You know, like find out as fast as you can and don’t be afraid of it. So I think one of the challenges we had that when we got started and something I would pass on to young entrepreneurs is really trying to figure out who your customer is, you know, ‘cause it’s so important. You know, and I think at the beginning we kind of got lost a little bit in the idea of our customer is the participant, you know, because we kept thinking about it from probably the parent point of view. You know, what do they want, what do they see? What are they willing to pay for it, because they were the ones putting out the dollars.
And I think, but you know, as time went on, what we realized more and more is that, well, no, fundamentally we’ve got to convince the leagues to try us and to take us on. And I think that some of our assumptions that, you know, we thought that they would want to do and provide value for their participants didn’t exist. You know, when we got in there originally it’s we were talking to leagues and they’re like, yeah, I don’t give a crap about that. Just give me some referee management. And I’m like, huh. You know, like, okay. You know, and I think what ended up happening was you know, we figured out that the leagues are our customer because we have to convince them to use us. And so it’s pretty easy to go out there and through Google search on that and find leagues but it’s really a one-on-one sales process. The challenge with that is that, you know, it’s a long process because, you know, leagues only start their season. Like if you look at a basketball season or a hockey season or something like that, they might, or soccer even, you know, they start the season, but it might go on for seven or eight months. And they’re probably not going to try a new platform mid season, right.
So we figured out that’s our customer and the reason that’s our customer is that we have one sale and we get many participants. So you sell to one league and let’s say a league has 5,000 registered members. Then it’s like, oh, make one sale, get 5,000 accounts onto our platform, right. And then you can kind of look at, okay, so if you’re getting 5,000 potential accounts on your platform, what percentage of those will convert to buy anything on your platform? And that’s where it’s a little similar to the video game space quite honestly. You know, if you look at games out there like fortnight, or, you know, there are, these free to play games, is they provide the platform for free, and then they rely on a small percentage of those to buy something on the platform. And we’re kind of following the same model, except that we’re not only taking that digital revenue, but we’re sharing it with the leagues. So that’s how we figured it out.
[16:14] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. No, there’s definitely the always that customer versus user aspect, right. Because you have like you said-
[16:19] Ron Moravek: Exactly. Yeah.
[16:20] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. Like, ‘cause you’ve got the participants, but, and so how do you guys, you know, reach out to these leagues? I mean, what kind of techniques are you using marketing or, you know, conversations?
[16:31] Ron Moravek: You know, we’ve tried a bunch. We’ve tried Facebook’s been pretty good. You know, we’ve tried some LinkedIn stuff. We’ve done some online marketing. Quite frankly, it’s worked out better with connecting with individuals through LinkedIn and through some people that I know I’ve been involved in sports a lot of my life. So as a perfect example, I played basketball at university. And when we were thinking about starting to work on basketball, I reached out to a buddy of mine who was a guard at the school and his daughter ended up playing div one in the US and then she went on to become a pro. So he’s name’s Todd. I’m like, hey, Todd, you know, who do you know? And it’s like, boom. You know, next thing you know, he connects me with 10 different people. This guy runs all the tournaments in the Northeastern USA. This guy runs this thing on Ontario, Canada, this guy, it was just like, oh, wait a second here.
And, you know, like I just reach out saying, hey, you know, are you having any challenges with your data collection? They’re like, oh my God. You know, so it’s, you know, finding out, you know, who’s got the thorn in their side, you know, but quite honestly, thus far, that’s been the easiest way for us to connect. And I think that’s because, you know, as we were saying, the participants are those on, you know, the Facebooks and these other social networks, whereas the leagues are kind of looking more at kind of professional tools and they have different problems. So honestly, we’re still looking for the best way to get to the leagues thus far. It’s been kind of one-on-one personal connection.
[18:05] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. No, that makes sense. And so like-
[18:06] Ron Moravek: Tough to scale.
[18:08] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, I know it is tough to scale, but at least, you know, you got to start by pleasing the few and then, you know, build from there. What kind of metrics are you guys tracking right now?
[18:19] Ron Moravek: Well, a lot of we kind of follow, you know, because my background’s in video games, we follow a lot of the same metrics that we do there, which is, you know, retention. You know, retention is a huge one, conversion to paying. You know those are the big ones and quite honestly I’m almost, you know, a hundred percent focused on our net promoter score, which is, you know, how do you make sure that the people using it love what they have. And so a lot of where I’m personally focused on right now is are the leagues happy with it? Not just the guys that are making the decision, but the people on the ground, like the people actually scoring the games. People that are using the tool on a daily basis, do they love it or do they hate it?
Because the way I look at it is, you know, retention is everything. If you can bring them in and keep them, then it’s really just a matter of like, okay, so now we’ve got to figure out our funnel because, but, you know, because once they’re in, they’re staying, but if they’re coming in and they get in there and like, yeah, this is kind of crappy and they’re leaving, then you’re wasting your time going up to get more customers. So we’re really focused on like, how likely are you to recommend this to a friend? Look, if you were like, this is awesome. Amazing, great. You know, and it’s kind of where I’m at right now. And it’s where we’re at as a company, the product is still early. There’s still some bugs in there, you know, we’re still making mistakes. But it, you know, it takes time and as long as I think, if you can relate to your customer that, hey, we’re fixing this stuff, you know, we’re listening to you, we’re going to fix it. And then I think it’s okay.
[20:02] Anil Hemrajani: And so on the product side, like, I mean, you know, you mentioned you’ve got, you know, the three in-house and then you’ve got some outsource. Do you guys follow some sort of methodology, like agile, you know, development, sprints, and like, how often do you release stuff?
[20:17] Ron Moravek: Yeah. It varies. You know, we’re very focused on our, you know, having our customers. We have a couple larger customers who have potentially, you know, up to a few hundred thousand participants. So generally speaking, we follow an agile development with some kind of waterfall methodology where we know, hey, you know they’re running these tournaments on this day, so we have to be ready, you know, three weeks beforehand, get the pilots, get the trials, fix the bugs, and be ready to rock and roll by the time this tournament’s running. So we kind of follow, I would say, agile in general and being iterative and being focused on sprints. But we’re also kind of mindful because we are kind of events or competition based. You know, it’s kind of like when you’re shipping a game and, or in software, it’s like, hey, if the movie is, you know, hitting the theaters by September 1st, then the game has to be out kind of a week before. You know, it can’t be like, well, you know, we’re going to … No, it’s got to hit. And we’re kind of like that with our competitions and with our tournaments. We know we’ve got to hit some of those, so it’s got to all be done or else we got to pick what we will have done.
[21:37] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. That makes sense. And you mentioned some challenges with bugs and all that. I mean, what are some of the issues you’ve run into on the product side? I mean, is there an also prioritization of features versus bugs versus, you know, whatever.
[21:50] Ron Moravek: Yeah. I think, you know one of the, well, we have a lot of challenges, but the platform that we’ve tried to build is, you know, if you look at software in general, a lot of the time you have, you know, apps that are kind of standalone, right. You install them, it stores everything on your phone, and then you have other apps that are like, oh, we’re storing data in the cloud. And then you have apps that are like, oh, you know, we’re storing data in the cloud, but we’re also connected to this larger community. You know, if you look at enterprise software where you’re thinking about things like roles and permissions and abilities, is that, that’s what we’re building. And quite honestly, I think we’ve, when we first started, we bit off a little bit more than we could chew, because we basically wanted to have the web side of our business being the admin side.
So somebody could go in, set up their leagues all on the web, right. And go, I’m going to set this up through that and here’s my administrators, here’s my scorekeepers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then it would show up on mobile devices in terms of what you could do. So, as an example, if, as an administrator, if I’m a scorekeeper, when I open up the mobile device, it’ll show my ability to score. If I’m a parent and I don’t have that, then it doesn’t show my ability to score. So, you know, anytime I think you’re creating any sort of large piece of software that has roles, abilities, permissions, and all this, it can get kind of complicated.
[23:21] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. No, it makes sense. So switching gears a little bit to like how you work personally, like what would you say, like, are your you know, top priorities or challenges right now?
[23:34] Ron Moravek: Yeah. Top priorities is customers. You know, it’s getting them happy, getting them productive, making sure the software is delivering on our promise. Like, that’s my priority. It’s I think, you know, some people might say, well, you know, your priority should be your employees in that. And they are, but you know, what I found is that if the customers are happy and people are using the software, it sure does make your employees happy. You know, ‘cause if, you know, if you’ve got a product that people love and then people have been, you know, working their butts off for two years building it and the customer says, this is awesome. I love it. It makes employees feel good. You know, so I think that’s why our priority is the customer.
[24:17] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. No, it makes a lot of sense because it’s just rewarding for everybody, you know?
[24:20] Ron Moravek: Absolutely.
[24:21] Anil Hemrajani: And so how do you figure out solutions for some of these challenges? I mean, you’ve got co-founders. I mean, do you use advisors mentors, and yeah?
[24:30] Ron Moravek: Yeah, I definitely have advisors. We have a few different advisors for ourselves. I think one of the challenges as an entrepreneur or founder is, you know, you end up you kind of have your head in the sand, right? You start believing things and you’re convincing yourselves to have certain things that, you know, I heard Elon Musk say something the other day, or I was reading something on them the other day. He’s like, yeah, have you ever been suffered from wishful thinking? And it’s like, absolutely. And I think as entrepreneurs, even though we all try to stay positive, we all do that as well is wishful thinking. So, you know, I try to get my advisors involved. I try to ask, you know, people that I have a lot of respect with, you know, whether they’re at Facebook or different technology companies, what they think.
And I talk to customers directly but I think as well as you, can’t be kind of locked and loaded, you’ve got to realize that it’s an iterative process. You know, it’s trial and error and you’re just going to continue to evolve over time. I think, you know, as everybody knows who has done startup, you know, what you often start with, you know, in terms of your vision is rarely what you end up with. You know, it’s you go through this, you’re pivoting, you’re changing, you’re willing to adjust, you’re iterating. I don’t think you, you, you can’t be afraid of it. You know, you’ve kind of got to embrace that that’s going to happen, but that’s also part of the fun.
[26:00] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, I’m glad you said that. I mean, it says, you know, I’m a serial tech entrepreneur, but just hearing those words again, it’s like, okay, you know what, because I’m kind of going through that right now to just pivots and, you know, figuring out the model. And I’m like, I, you know, I keep telling myself, I should know this by now, but it’s, you know, but it’s a new startup, so-
[26:18] Ron Moravek: Yeah, absolutely. It’s hard.
[26:20] Anil Hemrajani: So what are your biggest worries like about like, I mean, what do you worry, like, even like, you know, for past any regrets, you know, in the few years that you guys have been around or future fears?
[26:32] Ron Moravek: Yeah. I think, you know, one of the learnings I’ve had in this project or this startup has been wanting to move too fast. You know, I find myself to be an impatient guy where I just want it to happen tomorrow. And I think one of the challenges we had is hiring some people who I was kind of, well, yeah, they can do it, but, and then, you know, they weren’t able to deliver. And it’s not because of, you know, they were messing around or they just didn’t have the ability. So I think that sometimes you’ve got to wait till you have the right people in the right position and you feel a hundred percent confident before you move and that might take time. But the good news is you’re not spending money in the meantime. And, you know, I think virtually, well, I don’t know if every project I’ve ever worked on, I would say 80% of the software project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve worked on a lot, is you end up wasting a lot of money.
You know, you can waste millions of dollars, you know. SportNinja we didn’t, but I would say we probably blew 500,000 on hiring probably the wrong guy. Like we went through a few different guys and made some decisions like, oh shoot, you know, we should have investigated this more. We should have waited till we got the right hire, but we wanted, we were in a rush. We wanted to get the product out. We wanted. And it just you know, sometimes it just fails. You know, and it’s going to happen. But I would say is patience. You know, that was something that, you know, even in my older entrepreneur age of, and after doing a bunch of projects, you know, you still, you got to be patient and not worry. Like the market’s not going anywhere, if anything, it’s, it’s continuing to grow. So I wish I had more patience.
[28:27] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, it makes sense. And then what are you worried about in the, like any future fears?
[28:32] Ron Moravek: You know, we’re working on, we’ve had some really interesting new technology. You know, it’s a new technology that we’re developing and we’re filing a patent for. And obviously the fear is that someone gets to market before we are, you know, speaking of patience. But thus far, no one isn’t. And I think that you know, you’re always worried about somebody, you know, stealing your prize. You know, currently we’re the only platform like it on the market, you know, that’s a mobile first statistics platform. That’s a true platform. It’s not a siloed platform that’s installed on a device or that only the league can use or only participants can use. Yeah, and the fear is that, you know, someone pops out on the market and, you know, steals our bacon, but you know, and that we go out and we’re not ready. You know, we, you know, you run out of cash, you know, that’s always a huge fear. But you know, you just got to take it, you know, one day at a time and be patient and, and trying to make the best product you can.
[29:46] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, those are like, you know, I’m sure a lot of founders share those kinds of fears, right. Running out of cash is the number two reason that startups fail. So that’s a, you know, a pretty common one and just having some other competitor kind of show up with, you know, so I can definitely understand. So do you belong to any like communities, like, you know, network, founder networks or groups or knowledge or emotional or other support?
[30:16] Ron Moravek: Yeah. You know, when I was younger during my first couple of startups, I definitely had joined pretty much every organization I could find, startup organization. I attended, you know, the, everybody meet down at this bar, all the startups, and I’ve done so much of that, that, you know, I find myself now more that I know who the entrepreneurs are in my circle, and I’ll usually reach out to them and they’re kind of the same. And if there’s someone else that they know that can basically help me, then you know, they’ll make that introduction. And that’s worked really well. I’ve got a, quite an extended circle now of people who, you know, and honestly, it’s usually through LinkedIn that I’ll reach out to say, hey, you know, anybody, a perfect example is, as I mentioned about Todd, the guy with the basketball, or, you know, I had mentioned the other day about, we were looking at some video broadcasting and I had a buddy that introduced me to a different guy at Facebook and YouTube, you know, how were they doing it, what technology they were using and so forth.
So it’s, I think part of that is not being afraid to ask for, hey, do you know anybody that knows anything about this, but at the same time, you want to be very specific with what you’re asking. I often have people approach me and they’re like, what do you think of this? I’m like, yeah. Okay, what do you want to know it, you know, like on their own, but they don’t know what they want from me, you know? So I think, when you are kind of reaching out to your circle, it’s like, be very specific on what are you trying to get to here? Like, well, what’s the problem you’re trying to solve that you’re reaching out to me to begin with, you know? What answers do you want? You know, just saying, I want feedback and like what?
[32:02] Anil Hemrajani: Right.
[32:03] Ron Moravek: And I think the other side of it is if someone does give you feedback, be thankful for it. I can’t tell you how many times, you know, somebody sends me a deck, ask me, he sends 10 emails, please take a look at this, please. I take, you know, take the time to write five pages of notes back to them and never hear from them again. It’s like, oh, that’s not very cool. If you are going to take up someone’s time to do this stuff, be thankful, you know, be grateful and use, embrace their feedback. Anyway, I’m kind of-
[32:39] Anil Hemrajani: No, it makes sense,
[32:39] Ron Moravek: Bitching a little bit here, but I think it’s important.
[32:42] Anil Hemrajani: No, and it’s good. No, it’s good for like our audience to hear these kinds of things too, you know? So it’s all good. And like, should you pay for any, you know, any of these sort of like online groups or coaching or anything like that? I mean, are you a pretty seasoned, so, you know, like you said, you’ve got your own network, but I don’t know if you pay for anything like that.
[33:02] Ron Moravek: I don’t know. I paid for them in the past. Quite honestly, I find personal relationships have worked better for me. But you know, there’s so much going on, there’s all these you know, startup programs and conferences and so forth. Yeah, I don’t know. I guess it would depend on what specifically you were looking for. You know, if you can get the return on your investment, you know, if you’re really just starting out, it’s more just putting yourself out there and getting beaten up by people who are, have been around the block. But yeah, you could potentially do it. I, you know, taking courses is a great way to learn as well, so.
[33:45] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. And so speaking of that, I mean, how do you personally stay current? I mean, you read blogs, you listen to podcasts, newsletters.
[33:54] Ron Moravek: Yeah. I pretty much, you know I pretty much sign up for everything I can and even just to read. I try to be a bit of a sponge and just get out there. So any of this stuff on Crunchbase, if I see acquisitions, I follow those companies. If I see, you know, whether it be in, you know, like nowadays, what are the hot buttons? It’s, you know, it’s, everything’s a, you know, machine learning and a video embedding and things. So I try to connect with as many different organizations as possible. And, you know, my inbox is full every day with different emails. And I find that, you know, as you might expect, you go through, you get maybe two or three emails and like, yeah, this isn’t really, I’m not really learning so unsubscribed, but I’ll subscribe to any, anything and everything. And then as time goes along, you know, I just keep kind of churning some out. It’s like, oh, this one, isn’t good. This one is good. Some of them are just motivational. So it’s but I think it’s really good just to be a sponge.
[35:01] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah, no, I know. I mean, that’s a … ‘Cause. Yeah, no, I know. I mean, that’s a, ‘cause I’m actually glad to hear that personally, because I’ve been subscribing to a lot of newsletters, you know, for my startup. And so like similar thing, like, yeah, I’m not learning much, you know, unsubscribe, but like, but try, you know, that’s the kind of trial and error too. A couple of wrap-up questions here, but like on the work-life balance, I don’t know if there’s such a thing actually, you know, because we all have one brain, right. It’s hard to but like what do you do? I mean, you said you’ve got four boys, but how do you kind of compartmentalize, you know, the work and life and I mean, you have hobbies or family time. How do you kind of decompress?
[35:37] Ron Moravek: That’s a good question. Honestly I think exercise is so important and two things for me, exercise and the outdoors. I find that you know, you can work your butt off seven days a week, but you really need time. I always call it washing your brain, you know, like you’ve got to rinse wash and like you know, I try to whether it be riding a bike or working out at the gym or not these days, but, you know, just getting outside. And I think the second one for me is the outdoors. You know, I’ve got a cabin in Canada that, you know, we head up to and just, you know, being outside, you know, chopping wood, doing something, being in a natural environment and manages to just pull away the stresses of your life.
And I believe that, you know, both the outdoors and the exercise it gives you the ability to refresh yourself and then you’re better for it. You know, when you come back on that Monday or whatever, and like, no matter what, you know, what’s the term, if you’ve read it before like your second mind, even when you’re in the forefront of your brain, you’re, you know, you’re looking at a bird you’re going for a hike, you’re exercising and doing it, you know, the back of your brain is still working on that problem.
[36:57] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah.
[36:58] Ron Moravek: And often I find that when you do those things and you wash your brain, that your, the back of your head and often resolve that problem and you’ll come back with great ideas after that.
[37:10] Anil Hemrajani: Oh, totally. Yeah. And exercise on being outdoors is just a great two great things. And like, what would you give, like as a parting advice to entrepreneurs, or even your younger self? I know you’ve mentioned things like, you know, patience and so on, but.
[37:25] Ron Moravek: Yeah. I think, you know, one of the things I just thought of recently and it’s and maybe it’s not a completed thought, but I think one of the, is it the term a misdemeanor is there’s a big difference in, you know how people say focus on what you’re good at and hire others to do the stuff you’re crappy at. I think there’s another piece of that puzzle, which is just because you, like, it doesn’t mean you’re good at it because I’ve been thinking about that lately, you know, that, you know, I like certain things about my job and I’ll do, and I’ll be like, yeah, I’m focused and you convince yourself. Yeah, I’m good at this. You know? And then often you’ll meet somebody who’s really good at that. You’re like, oh man, maybe I’m not that good at that.
You know, maybe I should be focusing on these other things that maybe I might not enjoy as much, but, you know, I’m better at it. But I think my point is that, you know, try to keep an open mind on, you know, who you’re, you know, who you’ve gotten, who can help you hit the goals you have as a business. You know, I often tell my kids that, you know, in sports you know, the MVPs are often not the people that can, you know, score the top-top goals. The MVPs or the people that make everyone else on the team better.
[38:50] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah.
[38:51] Ron Moravek: Oh, and I know a guy at Riot Games and I said to him, Kenny, you know, you’re awesome. You’re one of the smartest guys I know, but unless you can turn all the, ‘cause he was talking about the guys around him are all sixes. And I said, yeah, okay. Maybe they’re not, but how are you making those guys’ nines? You know, like that’s when you’re really providing value. And I think as a leader, if you’re a founder in your company, it’s like, how do you elevate those around you? You know, I think that’s, maybe my, my second piece is figuring out how you can do that best.
[39:22] Anil Hemrajani: No, that was good advice. And I never really thought about, you know, what you said before that, right. Like, just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean you’re good at it. I was like, never really thought about that, but so just last question. I mean, what are your, you know, near future plans for the company and for yourself?
[39:40] Ron Moravek: Oh, you know, take over the world. You know, it’s, we’re pushing, the company is pushing into soccer and basketball for this fall. So we’ve got a lot of work to do to try to get that stuff done. Bring on some customers. We want to raise about 20 million late in the year. So that’s, I would say that’s beyond a stretch goal. But you know, I think you’ve got to enjoy the journey and we’re, you know, we’ve got some very specific goals for the company, but, you know, we’re kind of enjoying it as we build it and you know, stay healthy. It’s you know, keep focused on the right things.
[40:22] Anil Hemrajani: Yeah. It makes a lot of sense.
[40:23] Ron Moravek: So nothing too complicated for me.
[40.25] Anil Hemrajani: No, it’s good plans. And I forgot to mention that at the, you know, at the beginning that you guys started out with ice hockey, right. And so you’re now you’re-
[40:32] Ron Moravek: That’s right.
[40:33] Anil Hemrajani: Expanding to right, other sports. That makes sense. Well, thank you so much for doing this. I mean, this was, I mean, I’ve learned a lot myself and I can’t wait to get this out to the audience, you know, so I really appreciate your time.
[40:44] Ron Moravek: Well, thank you. Thank you for the time.
[40:46] Anil Hemrajani: Thanks.