Skip to content

Scaling Successful A Sportstech Company with John Wirtz, Co-Founder of Hudl

John Wirtz, co-founder of sports video analysis platform Hudl, explains how he and his co-founders identified early on the potential of streaming video and built a cloud-based subscription service focused on solving key pain points for coaches and teams – including simplifying brutal video sharing workflows.

He discusses how they adapted the platform for international soccer markets, built in network effects like online film exchange, and gradually weaved products together to capture video, analyze performance, create highlight reels, and engage fans.

John emphasizes key lessons like the importance of understanding customer problems, finding waves to ride in terms of trends/technology, building deliberately even when impatient, and setting culture through thoughtful onboarding and collaborative interviews.

  1. Focus on solving real pain points for customers, not just building cool technology. John gives the example of how VR for sports training sounded neat, but didn’t actually address core problems teams were facing. Hudl focused on video analysis to extend coaches’ impact.
  2. Find and ride big waves/trends like streaming video and software as a service. John talks about how they saw the potential early on for streaming video despite limitations at the time, and built the company around a cloud software subscription model before it was popular.
  3. Adapt the product for new markets. When expanding internationally, Hudl had to re-architect parts of the platform to meet needs of soccer/global football teams vs. their original American football base.
  4. Build network effects and lock-in. By creating an online film exchange for teams to trade video, Hudl made it sticky and teams didn’t want to leave since it would impact their workflow.
  5. Solve multiple pain points to weave products into an ecosystem. They solved video capture problems then used that footage to build tools for performance analysis, fan engagement and highlights for recruiting.
  6. Balance being impatient and impatient – move fast but don’t prematurely build for the future. They resisted putting too many features in early desktop apps because they knew the future was cloud video.
  7. Great onboarding and collaborative interviews set culture. John emphasizes the importance of thoughtful onboarding and doing real work together in interviews to evaluate culture fit.