When Orioles pitcher Ryan O’Rourke was starting out, he found baseball recruiting to be inefficient and old fashioned. He had to email coaches one by one, hoping for a response, and pay hundreds of dollars for baseball scouting events, hoping to get noticed.
“It was the most archaic system of all time,” said O’Rourke. “It was time consuming… and… the reach was not that vast.”
The Massachusetts native now hopes the newly launched Hub-based startup, ScoutDay, of which he’s an adviser and investor, will become a game changer for how high school baseball players are recruited.
Providing a subscription-based smartphone application, ScoutDay lets young players – primarily those on high school teams – upload their performance information, grade point average, graduation date and game and practice video clips that can be evaluated by college coaches and recruiters from the scouting service Perfect Game.
“A good way to look at it is that players are always uploading content to Instagram,” said Alex Tuccio, founder and chief executive of ScoutDay. “Now, they’re taking that to where scouts and college coaches can see it.”
The startup launched the app six weeks ago, after raising $300,000. Now seeking to raise a half million dollars more, the company has hired a full-time chief technology officer, Rebecca Slatkin, formerly of online retailer Wayfair. Advisers include O’Rourke and Kameron Loe, a former Major League Baseball pitcher.
Currently, players are charged $7.99 to $24.99 monthly subscription fees and an initial evaluation fee of $49.99. Coaches, however, sign on for free. So far, “thousands” of players have downloaded the app and so have hundreds of college and university team coaches, said Tuccio.
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ScoutDay hopes to bulk up its user base, increase subscriptions and increase the number of college teams using the software with its next funding round, which Tuccio expects will be mostly from wealthy “angel” investors. Though he’s familiar with some venture capital investors in the area, the chief executive said the round isn’t big enough to seek funding from them yet.
Instead of spending money on ads, he said ScoutDay has relied largely on its Instagram page to raise its profile.
Tuccio, a former Division 1 player, said he also sees the app as going global, and has already seen downloads from France, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.
His own experience of swinging for the big leagues led him to create ScoutDay, Tuccio said, noting that families of aspiring athletes can spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to get their kid noticed.
The same is true for O’Rourke.
“I tell Alex (Tuccio), where were you 10 or 15 years ago?”
Reporter’s note: A comment from an assistant baseball coach at Harvard University was removed from an earlier version of this story.