Startups

Meet the college athletes-turned-married couple behind this tech-enabled private coaching platform

Athletes Untapped, the platform founded by West Chester couple Elaine and Gene Williams, allows local parents to book time with a private coach to up their kids' skills im a variety of sports.

Elaine and Gene Williams, founders of Athletes Untapped.

(Courtesy photo)

The concept for Athletes Untapped, a tech platform to book private sports coaching founded by married duo Elaine and Gene Williams, predates their relationship.

The pair first started dating in 2017, at the end of Elaine William’s Temple University soccer career. Gene Williams had played college basketball for Johns Hopkins University, and for years had kicked around the idea of how to monetize and structure private training lessons for area kids.

“I think I heard about it on the first date,” Elaine Williams said. “It’s almost the first thing he mentioned to me — it had been brewing for a while.”

The pair, now married and living in West Chester, both work in the tech industry full time. Gene Williams runs real estate app VeryApt, and Elaine Williams works for a software company. When the pandemic hit, they were both working from home and decided to go in on Gene Williams’ original idea. For the first year, they built a platform that would allow local coaches to host their services in soccer and basketball.

They eventually handed the building off to a contracted dev team, and late last fall, launched Athletes Untapped to the local market. It currently hosts the services of about 100 vetted, local private coaches, and the business nets 20% of the session fee. The platform hosts video feedback, messaging and scheduling options, booking and an integrated calendar.

The pair considers themselves lucky with the timing of their business and the pandemic.

“It took time to develop and build out wireframe and platform,” Gene Williams said. “Right as the pandemic was easing again and parents were kind of tired of the kids in the house and wanting to get them out and playing again.”

Private coaching usually comes in when a player is looking to build on specific skills or level up their playing ability, the founders said, especially when in the early years of club teams, many coaches are focused on team building over skillset. They’re reaching out to coaches in the Philly, South Jersey and Delaware areas currently, and have a network of college and professional athletes who are looking to make money.

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Right now, the platform is only in a desktop version, but the cofounders plan on rolling out a mobile version this summer, and add other sports including baseball, lacrosse, softball, track, football and general strength training. The founding pair works with a friend from college as its head of growth and two interns. They’ve taken a small amount of funding from friends and family, but have mostly bootstrapped the business so far.

This spring and summer will be a period of growth for the company, as more coaches and sports are added to its platform and a mobile app gets up and running/

“During COVID, we lived together, we were working together, and just constantly bouncing ideas off each other. We’re ready to grow,” Elaine Williams said. “But every dinner is inevitably a business meeting.”

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