By Jon Flint, Co-Founder & Managing General Partner, Polaris Partners
It’s an exciting time to be an investor in Athletes’ Performance (AP), the trailblazing performance training network for both elite athletes and those wanting to achieve peak fitness.
The NFL draft begins today and AP has been working with 94 former college football players, readying them for this important moment in their lives. For the players and AP coaches, this becomes a very personal time. Over the course of their training period together a bond has formed and hopes are high [not unlike the relationship between a company and an investor].
Some of the player names are well-known: 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor; Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, Matt Kalil, OL, USC and Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Other player names will become more recognized after the draft, particularly when they hit the field and everyone can see their hard work paying off.
Certainly, AP’s hard work has paid off too. From 2006 when we made our investment in AP to today, the company’s revenues have grown five-fold—from $5 million to over $25 million. And really, AP’s scaling has only just begun.
Why this success? Simple. There is nothing like having excellence as your mission. Excellence is gravity. How do you get the best coaches and continual thinking about exercise innovation? Tell your employee prospects that you are going to the best place in the world to practice the career you’ve always wanted. This is both honest and self-fulfilling.
Excellence also brings scaling opportunities. The AP team has spent the last four years developing corporate wellness solutions under the Core Performance brand. Now, with innovative product suites and clients like Intel and Walgreens, where excellence is also a priority, AP and CP are taking a proven solution and bringing experience and applied R&D from the world of elite athlete training to high performing companies and executives to transform their lives through great outcomes.
You want to see someone who exudes excellence? You’ve got to meet AP’s founder and president Mark Verstegen. He does what he loves and it shows. If attitude is contagious, then his positive, hardworking persona has spread across AP’s network.
When Mark founded the company in 1999, the entire concept of an industry around comprehensive athletic training services was foreign—no one had done it before. And over the last 13 years, his commitment hasn’t faded. Last year, Fast Company named AP one of the most innovative companies in sports. How many 13-year-old companies can show (not just say) they are still innovative?
Let me share just a couple of examples:
- One of the most innovative things AP does in the space today is work with Axon Potential on athletic brain training. AP’s athletes readying for the Combine this year not only trained from the neck down with comprehensive physical training, but also trained neurologically to better read coverages, predict outcomes, etc.
- AP has also started working with Zeo on sleep training for athletes to optimize their sleep cycle as a critical component to improve their performance on the field.
In the 2011 NFL draft, AP saw 14 of its athletes picked in the first round, and overall for that year 54 AP athletes were selected in the draft.
Today, Mark and his team will begin agonizing over each selection, which tells you why the performance of Athletes’ Performance is also all-star caliber.