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Cincinnati startup scene growing with addition of Jersey Watch


View from above in Jersey Watch's new digs in Over-the-Rhine.


The Brandery grad Jersey Watch will soon be setting up shop in Over-the-Rhine. The company got its start in 2012 in Athens when two Ohio University graduates — Tim Gusweiler and David Carter — developed the idea to provide free digital services to youth sports teams, leagues and clubs, all by backing brands and businesses that are looking to reach that audience through advertising.

Jersey Watch was accepted into The Brandery in early 2015, and graduated last fall.
 
“All of the advertising and brand expertise in Cincinnati with national experts in the field drew us here,” Carter says. “Things accelerated tremendously when we entered The Brandery and began to refine our scaling and growth strategy. It was a gamechanger and pushed us into 14 new states.”

Jersey Watch recently secured $1 million in capital funding from CincyTech, TechGROWTH Ohio and angel investors; it is also currently in the midst of a national rollout of its service.

Youth sports leagues often operate on a shoestring budget. The company currently supports 10,000 teams in 16 states with eight full-time staff. The national rollout of Jersey Watch will begin with East Coast metro areas like Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York. After establishing itself in those markets, Jersey Watch plans to widen its client base throughout those regions.

Jersey Watch provides free websites and online platforms for player registration and game scheduling, as well as email communication for coaches, parents and players.

“We don’t want this to be just a digital ad buy,” Carter says. “We are always looking for ways to build engagement, particularly for our healthcare clients. They’re interested in sponsored content about nutrition, concussion prevention and other health topics for young athletes.”

To date, Jersey Watch has secured commercial clients like Pizza Hut and UDF, as well as service providers such as Dayton Children’s and Adena Health Systems. Clients can customize their placement by selecting a specific sport, geographic area, demographic or advertising method.

“Over the next year, you are going to see Jersey Watch grow nationwide and cross 25,000 local teams served,” Carter says. “We will continue to increase our team size, as we continue improving how to serve youth sports organizations and help them win. I also expect several new national advertisers to join our client list in the upcoming months, and our aim is to continue delivering targeted sponsorship campaigns for brands that want to align with this attractive audience, at scale.” 

Locally, Jersey Watch works with teams like the Anderson and Harrison youth football leagues, Cincy Classics Volleyball and Seven Hills Lacrosse. Even as it doubles its reach, Jersey Watch plans to maintain its base of operations in Cincinnati.

“The experience here has been tremendous for us, and I can’t say enough good things about the ecosystem,” Carter says. “From a mentorship, recruiting and agency-relationship standpoint, the StartupCincy community has been incredibly supportive. It was a no-brainer to open our office on Sycamore to stay involved in what’s going on in Over-the-Rhine.”
 

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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