• What possessed you to start off the business?
    • Background is in education
    • Asia and China have largest private education market in this world
    • Build out business model, build out team, then go out and fund it
    • Went to colombia 
    • Industry of sport is getting greater attention
    • Business curriculum with emphasis on sport would be valuable
    • Athletes go bankrupt 5 to 10 years after your career
    • We want to redefine what success is for a student athlete
    • What are we doing for the 98% that don’t go pro
    • How can we increase success or redefine what success is
    • Building a curriculum which is worthy of doing one of the tops schools on the plant
    • Sports have been a great driver of social change
    • No creating whole new course and structure, it is just specifically relevant to sports
    • Launched last year
    • It has not been easy
    • Series A next year
    • First mil is getting UCLA, finishes curriculum, gets website and people, next round gets more colleges
    • Plans to have industry partnerships with teams
    • Getting students to take courses, getting them to complete them, do that profitably
    • Built it lean

On Episode #110 of the Art of Startup War, Brian MacMahon of Expert DOJO and Hany Syed discussed the startup Athleta Ed, and it’s increasing role in expanding the educational opportunities for student athletes who don’t go pro.

Syed originally formulated the idea based on his extensive background in education. Through his work, he even was shown that the largest centers of private education are in Asia, where he was stationed for some time.

After coming back to the States, Syed started working on his next big project: a new business curriculum for people interested in sports business. It was incorporated into previously approved curriculum by top universities, but with some changes to focus on the business of sports games. This way, his company was more easily added into the preexisting standards of top universities. Syed’s goal was to create a set of classes and lectures that could be sold to top American business schools, and he had an idea of a perfect target audience: student athletes.

 Syed started with this group because 98% of them do not go pro, and when they leave college they end up with a little less than a degree and some not-quite-good-enough athletic skills. These classes immediately appeal to their interests, and help to take care of the vast majority of athletes who end up without a whole lot of money or help after college. 

Additionally, Syed aims to add a clear future for all serious athletes, even those who go pro. Most statistics show that professional athletes tend to lose all of their sports money five to ten years after leaving the league. This provides a path for athletes outside of their normal archetype that encourages sustainable futures for them.

The difficulty with building online curriculum like that of Athleta Ed is to get students to take the courses, complete them, and do so profitably. Because this process is so difficult, the startup is not overly concerned with others stealing their coursework, as it would be such a long journey to even compete with the existing company.

Syed intelligently built his business lean with a small but committed team, and has already sold his curriculum to UCLA. He plans on using this next round of funding to expand to dozens of other business programs across the US.

Listen to the whole thing here, or wherever you get your podcasts.