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Indy-based website for coaches scores key VC investment

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A web startup operating out of a SoBro club for entrepreneurs will expand its market and fuel development with $250,000 in venture capital funding it has secured from investors, the company announced Thursday.

BookIt Commerce Inc. secured the investments in December. It was the second round of funding for the 2-year-old business. BookIt raised the funding in part through Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, which helps connect emerging Indiana businesses with capital and expertise.

Bookit runs the website bookacoach.com, which connects athletes and teams with appropriate coaches. For example, coaches can create profiles as a way to market themselves to clients. The site conducts criminal background checks, and profits by collecting a share of the coaches' booking fees.

About 1,500 coaches use the website. The company would not disclose its revenue.

BookIt splits operations between Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., where it already has investors. But the company plans to make Indianapolis its official headquarters. Elevate Entrepreneur in Residence Kelly Schwedland has joined bookacoach's board of directors to help advise on growth strategy.

Previously, investors in Washington, D.C., and Greensboro, N.C., pumped $200,000 into BookIt, which was enough to set up bookacoach and launch in test markets. The funding also fueled development of a new version of the website, which launches Sunday.

The more recent, $250,000 infusion will let bookacoach add features and reach into new markets, said Myles Grote, who co-founded the business with Kevin MacCauley and Marcus Gross in 2011. Users are primarily in the Indiana and Washington, D.C., areas.

BookIt plans to keep its operations in The Speak Easy, a membership-based entrepreneurial club south of Broad Ripple at 5255 N. Winthrop Ave.  that bills itself as “a Moose Lodge for startups.” The firm might move later this year, once it begins hiring employees, Grote said.

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