It’s a familiar scene when your SUV packed with little soccer players shows up for a game and the field’s parking lot is empty. Then, once you finally navigate to the right location, you are promptly notified that you were responsible for the all-important halftime orange slices. #parentingfail. The answer for the dilemma? A mobile app.
When Boulder tech-industry veteran and father of two Dave DuPont took the job as scorekeeper for his son’s lacrosse team, he quickly tired of the time wasted on simple missteps. As a busy parent and technology enthusiast, DuPont was—needless to say—attracted to things that streamlined and simplified his busy days. Organizational meetings with his fellow lacrosse parents, however, were chaotic. “I came home from the second one and said to my wife, ‘It’s unbelievable: We’re collecting paper checks, and repeating information we’d already heard.’”
In 2008, DuPont formed TeamSnap, a free app with 10 million users worldwide (and about 294,000 in Denver and Boulder counties combined) that solves the problem of coordination and communication among parents and coaches. TeamSnap’s automated notification system means no more “phone tree” (Remember those? Ew.) to spread the word about a canceled practice. No more lost hard copies of game schedules. No more disappointed kids showing up only to forfeit due to low turnout. Team rosters, full schedules, live chat, a real-time scoreboard, and an RSVP feature are all contained in the app. It also allows for collection of payment, photo sharing, private messaging, and organizing refreshments. “Now everybody can be at the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff,” DuPont says.
Email or text notifications alert parents to field changes, cancellations—even directions to the game. The app also adheres to stringent privacy laws, using passwords to access roster and game-location information. “When it comes to kids’ personal information, privacy risk is high,” DuPont says. “We have been able to safeguard all our users’ information.”
The app, for which the Boulder-based company received $10 million in funding this fall, tailors its features for particular sports. Soccer is its most popular, followed by softball and baseball. Although 60 percent of its users are Stateside, it has overseas enthusiasts, too. Dragon Boat racers, Ki-O-Rahi teams in New Zealand, and Pétanque (French-style bocce ball) leagues all utilize the app. It doesn’t stop at sports, either: Book clubs, bridge clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and dance troops use TeamSnap, as well. “Parents tell me I’ve saved their marriage,” DuPont says, “because this has made their life so much easier.”