I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember.
Sport teaches the impact of intentional leadership, the fruit of adversity, and the beauty of human connection. Sport is a stage. An athlete’s peak performance is temporary, but the stage of sport provides the potential for athletes to make an eternal impact.
My mission is simple — to provide athletes with the tools needed to use this stage to become leaders and agents of change in our society.
God blessed me with the opportunity to be the Founder & CEO of INFLCR, as well as the Chief Innovation Officer for our parent company, Teamworks. Made up of more than 130 employees, many of whom are former collegiate athletes, our team is making a direct impact on the sports industry and the lives of athletes.
Elite athletic organizations at both college and pro levels use our software to enhance the lives of their athletes. The Teamworks app helps athletes manage their lives off the field and court, while the INFLCR app helps them build their personal brands to manage and monetize their personal name, image and likeness (NIL).
I grew up in Syracuse, New York and had some success on the baseball field and basketball court at my alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy. This led me down South with a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Montevallo (UM).
When my dreams to play pro ball failed to come to fruition, God redirected my passion for athletics to entrepreneurship. I started NextSpex in college, an audio-video streaming solution that morphed into a recruiting network for high school athletes and college coaches to connect. This was my first startup experience. It exposed me to the highs and lows of entrepreneurship that I never could have experienced in any business course, all within a five-year journey directly after college. At the same time I was growing into adulthood, getting married and building a family with my wife Yazmin, also a successful entrepreneur.
The journey to create INFLCR
After my exit from NextSpex in 2010, I connected with a man who would become my mentor and business partner, Forrest Walden. Together we transformed a gym that he had started in his garage into Iron Tribe, a national fitness brand with 47 locations franchised across the U.S.
While Forrest acted as Iron Tribe’s President, I was free to innovate and grow our footprint across America. After almost seven years of building a national brand together, I was ready to build something new, serving my favorite group of people — athletes.
Although it was a risk, a buyout of my Iron Tribe stock in late 2016 provided the financial resources to begin building what would become INFLCR (pronounced Influencer). I traveled for the next six months, processing my vision with anyone who would listen. On this journey I learned that collegiate athletic programs were not empowering their student-athletes to build brands on social media. I also knew that the 2015 NCAA v. O’Bannon case ruling indicated that student-athletes would eventually be able to profit off of their name, image and likeness (NIL).
I knew this was my chance to build something disruptive again in the sports industry that I love.
In late 2017, with the University of Kentucky as our first client, we launched the INFLCR app to help student-athletes build bigger brands on social media. The timing was perfect with the amount of attention on student-athletes’ social media and the looming rumors that student-athletes would one day be able to monetize their NIL. INFLCR expanded with 100 college athletics partners, 700 college teams and 30,000 active student-athlete users in less than 30 months, leading to our March 2020 merger with sports tech titan, Teamworks.
Where we are today
As two products under one roof, we have the majority market share in college and professional sports. More than 4,000 collegiate teams use our software systems, providing our technology to more than 150,000 student-athlete users on our platform. As of July 1, 2021, student athletes can now profit from their NIL, positioning INFLCR to be the central tool for them to build their brand value and their business. This is a big opportunity for Teamworks and INFLCR, and I continue to pursue it with our team.
With the success of these timely ventures, I was recently named to ESPN’s list of “The 11 biggest power brokers and advocates shaping the future of college football,” and in June 2022 I was named to Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40.”
I am also the proud co-founder of the GLOW, beauty-on-demand, app with my wife, Yazmin. Building two companies while raising our three children, Savanah, Sofia and James, makes for an interesting home life, and we wouldn’t change a thing.
So, what’s my biggest lesson learned so far? It’s all about the people. Surround yourself with great teammates, cast a vision of clarity and go win together.