Draper, Simpson College incubator create sports recruiting software

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Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 12:00 am

Editor's Note: Since its publication, changes have been made to this story to reflect the value propositions of PlayTagger's model and clarify that the platform does not intend to be a competitor with the Lincoln-based Hudl.

PlayTagger has developed a partnership with World Rugby Shop to market to rugby players nationally.

Chris Draper got involved with rugby in Iowa decades before the sport became popular. Now one of his latest ventures, PlayTagger, helps high schoolers pursue their athletic passions at a collegiate level through video highlight reels.

"There's only two or three kids per team per year who actually want to go anywhere," said Draper, who last year became the director of Simpson College's new incubator program. "We have to design for them. So we built a system designed around the individual."

Over the last few years, as rugby has begun to grow in popularity, Draper realized that high schoolers playing competitively needed a way to be seen by the right talent scouts and college recruiters. 

"We've gone from 26 kids (playing rugby) to over 1,000 in less than three years," Draper said of the Iowa High School Rugby Association.

With the first version out last October, the monotony of tracking rugby stats for the league's growing number of participants became much easier. Proven to work with rugby, the PlayTagger model is now expanding to other competitive youth sports. 

"There's no volunteer coach on Earth that has the time for that and should have to do it," Draper said.

PlayTagger is just one of the projects that students enrolled in Simpson College's EMERGE incubator worked on this past semester. Draper said that this fall's course will place a larger focus on the platform, along with one other project.

"Hudl is a very valuable piece of game analysis software that has a recruiting feature. PlayTagger is a recruiting software that really cannot be game analysis software. We service a need that Hudl currently does not, and they service a need that we will not," Draper said in an email to SPN.

Draper reaffirmed that PlayTagger allows individual athletes to create a professional recruiting reel at an individual price, rather than needing to rely on a team license. 

"Your Hudls and other items serve a very good purpose in structured teams," Draper said. "If you have a paid coach, some guy who's interested into analysis, who actually wants to dissect the game and take it apart––awesome product. If you're like the 99 percent of all the other sports out there, that might not be what you're looking for."

For a one-time fee of $49.99, players can access game footage, set up a personal profile and track MVP standings. PlayTagger also offers an option for coaches to compile footage at an annual cost of $99.99.

For its rugby platform, PlayTagger has developed a partnership with World Rugby Shop to help coordinate registrations. The PlayTagger team plans to add football this fall, and beyond that, volleyball and hockey are in the works.

Watch PlayTagger's video that provides an overview of its product:


Credits: Product photo from worldrugbyshop.com. Chris Draper photo courtesy of Draper. PlayTagger video from Iowa Hawk on YouTube.

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