Friday, August 10, 2012

CED TVC2012 Demo Company Gridiron Grunts Enables NFL Players to Connect Directly to Fans

Ahead of the CED Tech Venture Conference 2012, we sat down with a few of the executives that will be presenting as Demo Companies to find out what makes them tick…

Gridiron Grunts Co-Founder Jeb Terry
Today's interview is with Jeb Terry, co-founder and CEO of Gridiron Grunts. Jeb recently sat down with with Ann Revall-Pechar, who serves on the CED PR/Marketing Committee. Gridiron Grunts is a Demo Company at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2012 and will be showcasing their mobile app, Gridiron Grunts, which enables NFL players to connect directly to fans. 

Ann: So we’re going to have football-talk at CED Tech Venture 2012!? Thanks for bringing some sports to the podium, Jeb!

Jeb: Thanks, Ann! This is really going to be a lot of fun for us. You know, when Ryan Nece and I founded Gridiron Ventures, we had already had a great first career together playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a linebacker, and I was an offensive lineman, so we were used to getting on the field and hitting each other hard. Now that the MBA is behind me, it’s fun to compete with each other again, and make our business grow.

Ann: Ah – now I see how you got the name Gridiron Ventures! So tell us what this is all about.

Jeb: Well, we built a mobile app called GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ for NFL players to connect with their fans with audio and video interaction.

GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ delivers unique content directly from NFL athletes to their fans – kind of where sports media meets social media. GRUNTS™ – the audio/video messages – are in the pro’s own voice, delivered as soon as they say it. It was developed to give NFL players control over what’s being said about them, and give fans the real interaction they want. This is important because in this day and age, everyone has a microphone and content can be created and distributed without the players even knowing.

So we created a mechanism to help players get underneath the noise of all that media – social or traditional - and rise above the clutter. GRIDIRON GRUNTS™ is a totally new communication channel that brings pro athletes’ thoughts to their fans, straight from the source and without filters. Players create GRUNTS™ that are delivered to a private network of friends and fans. Then, you can connect your account to Facebook or Twitter.

Ann: Well, this seems timely! My friends were just off at the Falcon’s training camp. They could’ve asked Matt Ryan to join their Grunt network when he signed their football, then, right? I mean, have you launched yet?

Jeb: Yes, we actually launched last year as a beta, but this is the season we’ll really take off. We now have 80 players Grunting! We had three learning curves to address last year: first, getting the platform refined and making the App more appealing; then we had to grow the roster of players that are part of the team; and finally the players themselves had to get used to the technology and determine what kind of content to push out.

The Huddle will probably be big for us this year, because fans can talk directly back to our players. It can be public or private, and still connect back. In fact, some players integrate it with Twitter so fans can integrate with other social outlets.

Ann: What kind of milestones have you hit so far?

Jeb:  We were founded in the summer of 2010, released beta in 2011, and this is the year we go big. We’ll be fully live for the NFL season, and hopefully be able to identify our first major investment this fall as well.

Ann: Where is the company located?

Jeb: Our headquarters are in Chapel Hill. I like what’s going on in the area and the support they give entrepreneurs – besides, I have great ties to UNC-Chapel Hill! We’re a virtual office, with my partners in LA and Florida, and the development team in Texas and Colorado. But as we grow we’ll add to the team in Chapel Hill. We expect we'll meet many great folks at the CED Tech Venture Conference in September, and look forward to growing our business here in the Triangle. 

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