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Local sports software firm scores acquisition

March 16, 2018

Indianapolis-based Upper Hand Inc. scored year-over-year revenue growth of 200 percent in 2017, and thanks in part to an acquisition announced this week, the company’s founder is projecting even faster growth this year.

Upper Hand, a maker of cloud-based sports management software, acquired Orono, Maine-based Double Blue Sports, which specializes in video analysis and sharing software. As part of the deal, Upper Hand gets the rights to the Double Blue name.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Upper Hand, which was founded in 2011 by Evansville native Kevin MacCauley, will also take on “a handful” of Double Blue Sports’ software developers—which will grow its workforce to more than 20. MacCauley, who serves as CEO, said the acquisition means Upper Hand is likely add more employees in the future.

“We’ll definitely blow by the 200 percent [growth] this year without the acquisition. With the acquisition, we’re expecting some serious [added] growth,” MacCauley told IBJ.

While Upper Hand is not yet profitable, MacCauley said, “We are closing in.”

As part of the acquisition, Upper Hand has bought Double Blue Sports’ app-based video-analysis platforms, CoachCast and the Save Review System, which has become a staple in the sport of hockey.

The acquisition means Upper Hand has become the world’s first sports and fitness management platform to integrate video analysis and video coaching, MacCauley said.

“Nearly 100 percent of sports organizations use video in some capacity,” MacCauley said. “So we’re expecting strong adoption among our clients, and we think it will open the door with a number of new clients.

“Video has a number of different applications, and I think that will help us expand our customer base,” he added. “We’re hoping to offer a number of different ways to leverage video.”

Upper Hand, which had 17 full-time employees before the acquisition, has been steadily growing since its inception. It moved out of The Speak Easy co-working space to an office in the Morrison Opera Place in May 2016 after landing $1.1 million round of financing from Elevate Ventures, Finish Line executives and others last summer. The company has now raised a total of more than $2.4 million in venture funding.

CoachCast, Double Blue Sports’ flagship product, is a multi-sport video analysis tool designed to make the coach’s use of video analysis fast, simple and productive.

Save Review System is the world’s first video and analytic platform for hockey goalies. It has reinvented the video capture and distribution process for goaltenders, MacCauley said, and is currently used by National Hockey League players.

Both platforms are used by sport professionals worldwide and securely stores videos for thousands of athletes across hundreds of organizations, MacCauley said. 

“Video analysis is the future and delivers a new pinnacle of innovation in athlete development,” he said. “By integrating CoachCast and SRS within our business management platform, sports professionals will see a dramatic improvement in coaching capabilities while driving positive business results.”

Upper Hand’s software platform already offers scheduling, payment processing, marketing and more for coaches, operators of sports leagues and camps and other sports outfits. MacCauley said he came up with the idea for Upper Hand while he was coaching Little League baseball in the Washington D.C. area.

“The way payments were handled and schedules were created and maintained seemed very inefficient to me,” MacCauley explained. “I knew there had to be a better way.”

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