Small Business & Startups, Sports Business, and Technology

Start Garden invests $20K more in golf instruction

March 31, 2014
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Start Garden invests in golf instruction
The HC Golf mobile app connects players with instructors for “immediate swing feedback.” Photo via hey-coach.me

A mobile platform for golf instruction has secured $20,000 more in funding from Start Garden.

Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, approved the funds for HC Golf at its monthly Update Night last week.

HC Golf, founded by Bryce Kaiser, is a mobile platform that allows golfers to connect to immediate feedback from pros.

Users upload a video of their golf swing, and after they select a coach on the application, the instructor sends an edited video with feedback.

After three months marketing testing and developing the mobile application, Kaiser said the service is anticipated to launch in April, including on the web and apps for iOS and Android.

Kaiser said HC Golf is an effort to use the advances in mobile software to fill real-time needs in the sporting world.

An avid golfer and software developer by trade, Kaiser said he was fortunate that there were minor expenses in the development of the software program.

With the initial $5,000 investment from Start Garden, Kaiser was able to establish market validation on the instructor side.

“We attracted instructors from all across the country who are bringing existing clients to the platform,” Kaiser said. “The $5,000 was great to go test the idea and see if we could actually go to market.”

Instructors are required to have professional and academic experience to join the network, and they receive 80 percent of each transaction, according to the HC Golf website.

Kaiser said the application is designed to offer golfers lessons that are less expensive than private lessons.

The cost of feedback is anticipated to average between $20 and $30 to make it worth the instructor’s time.

“It is an open marketplace,” Kaiser said. “If you want an experienced instructor or instructor you want to see locally, you will probably pay a little more.”

With the $20,000 investment, Kaiser said the plan is to launch a concentrated marketing campaign to target everyday golfers to join the network.

Some of the funding will also be allocated toward product development as the mobile platform accommodates growth in users.

“Now we can actually build a company around that idea,” Kaiser said. “I am looking forward to that experience and challenge.”

Kim Pasquino, portfolio manager at Start Garden, said the team is excited to see how the application will perform in the market and how end users engage with it.

“We were impressed with Bryce," Pasquino said. “He understands the space and created a solid test that engaged both sides of the market — consumers and golf pros. Bryce has proven to adapt quickly when provided with new insights and that motivates us to invest further.” 

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