What began as a baseball training company four years ago has now expanded into a more comprehensive video-training platform.
ViiNetwork, Inc. is what co-founder and CEO Phil Newman calls an “asynchronous communication process.” Using video, Newman and co-founder and executive vice president Paul Winterling can provide instruction and training to anywhere at any time. They’re in the process of releasing ViiNetwork now, and it comprises several subjects: health care, fitness, education, sports, business and government.
Different iterations of the ViiNetwork platform are branded to suit specific industries: ViiSports, ViiEdu, ViiFitness, ViiMed, ViiBusiness and ViiGov. The company was one of three chosen in May to join the new Wasabi Ventures accelerator housed on Loyola University Maryland’s campus. Tom Kuegler, a general partner with the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, graduated from Loyola in 1994, when it was called Loyola College.
The original platform, PBT, allowed baseball players worldwide to upload videos of themselves practicing to a website accessible to the company’s pool of 25 remote trainers, many of whom were professional baseball players. (In the U.S., trainers came from the minor league.) Instructors provided individual critiques of players’ training videos, and then sent the videos back to players through the PBT website. By 2009, more than 15,000 players had been trained remotely. But in 2010, rather than growing the baseball training company, Newman and Winterling decided to take the concept and build out a business-to-business, video-training service company.
“We can transpose our platform across any industry, and then the industry tells us how they want to use it,” says Newman.
The company is incorporated in Columbia, Md., although Newman lives in Washington, D.C., and Winterling lives in Baltimore.
A successful capital raise in 2011 of a little more than $500,000 has allowed ViiNetwork, a TEDCO company, to further develop its technology and expand its platform. (A portion of the funding came from TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund.)
Today, ViiNetwork works with several high profile organizations. Its ViiSports platform is utilized by Ripken Baseball. ViiBusiness is used by Lincoln Financial Distributors for employee training. The Ministry of Education in the Bahamas uses ViiEdu, and Newman says they’re in “the process of trying to work with the majority of the schools” there. The Washington Nationals use ViiFitness for offseason workout programs.
And the pilot program of ViiMed—after eight months in development, the platform was released Wednesday—starts today when a 10,000-patient orthopedic practice in New York City begins using it to conduct its pre-screens and follow-ups.
“You can record yourself doing exercises for your record, and the doctor can see how your progress is going all throughout your rehab,” Newman says. “You don’t even have to go in.”
ViiMed is also compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Right now, says Newman, ViiNetwork is working with Wasabi Ventures on the sales and marketing aspects of the business. Heading into the fall, ViiNetwork is looking to do another capital raise of between $2 and $3 million, to increase the size of the business.
“We’ve added a bunch of customers,” he says. “It’s a very powerful model—it just takes infrastructure to build, [and we’re] raising capital to do that.”-30-
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