founder

Signature Lacrosse Founder Dan Soviero on Youth Sports

Summary

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the US. Despite its growing popularity at both the youth and professional level, the lacrosse equipment market still lacks a dominant brand. Lacrosse’s previously niche status has resulted in major athletics companies being slow to pivot into this expanding market.

Signature Lacrosse was founded to address the unique issues that lacrosse players and coaches face. This Deal to Watch designs and supplies lacrosse equipment that is made with players in mind. The Signature Lacrosse ball is even the official ball of the National Lacrosse League and the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League.

With its current crowdfunding raise, Signature Lacrosse is looking to expand on its initial success by branching out into other team sports. We spoke with founder Dan Soviero about the company’s focus on making youth sports easier to outfit and where things are headed.

Note: This interview was conducted over email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Olivia Strobl
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
Dan Soviero

Founded by players for players, Signature Athletics is on a mission to grow the games we love. We’re starting at the grass roots level by solving the biggest problems in youth sports.

Olivia Strobl
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
Dan Soviero

All lacrosse balls had been made the same way for a very long time, and so we set out to make a better ball. From there, we looked at other lacrosse-specific problems to solve and as the company grew, so did our vision. Now, we’ve developed a solution for overwhelmed program directors to fully outfit their teams without any of the headaches!

Olivia Strobl
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
Dan Soviero

At Signature, we value all of our experiences—both good and bad—that have shaped us into the people and teammates we are today. I was really blessed to have great parents, friends, mentors and coaches who instilled integrity, communication, and a desire to perform at my best at all times. My experience from youth through D1 college athletics really helped prepare me to be innovative, resilient, and to have a strong work ethic. These are just a few of the qualities that we value and have served us as we’ve built the company.

Olivia Strobl
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
Dan Soviero

I believe technology is going to play a revolutionary role in making youth sports more accessible. Right now, we’re focused on integrating technology to automate the outdated processes that have plagued youth sports’ program directors. This frees up their time to do what they are passionate about and why they signed up for the role in the first place —to coach kids and grow their programs!

Olivia Strobl
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
Dan Soviero

Our amazing team has come together over the past four years in all sorts of ways: Andrew G., our Director of eCom & Systems, and I met in an entrepreneurial incubator. Brian B., our Director of Sourcing & Sales, played Men’s League with me. Madeline L. (the real boss), our Compliance Officer, and I met in college where we fell madly in love (I am her fiancé). She started helping us build the business a few years later. Kelcy Y., our wonderful project manager, has risen through the ranks, starting as an executive assistant and working her way up to leading her own team! Alex H., who heads up our social media and content, found us through his childhood friend who was a former sales manager for Signature. 

We also have a network of partners and vendors who are truly an extension of our team. It starts with an account team, 1 Source Partners that includes Lorri H., Tanya P. , and Stacy K., who I met through a friend of mine from my Vistage group (a CEO peer-to-peer group). Stringer Society with Matt R. & Nick B. is our SEO and blog team who we met through a cold outreach after I saw their awesome content. We put together our paid ads and email marketing teams, eCom Growers & Conversion Engine, as well as an amazing Advisory Board. This board includes Nick S., commisioner of the NLL and former Founder of the NLL. Pablo N., CEO & President of a number of noteworthy organizations, and Drew S., a hired gun, lacrosse aficionado, and key operating partner in an aftermarket auto parts PE-owned company.

Olivia Strobl
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Dan Soviero

We’re playing a completely different game then our “competition.” We focus on adding the best value to our clients and the market.  We’re always working on beating ourselves really. We even talk a lot internally about being our own biggest competitor.

Olivia Strobl
What does your business model look like?
Dan Soviero

Through an innovative supply chain model, we’ve shifted to a cash-flow positive and asset-light business model with long-term competitive advantage in distribution and data. We’re able to accomplish this business model through the Signature Partner Program Team Stores. It’s been an age-old problem in youth sports to fully outfit the teams in your program with the equipment, apparel, and uniforms they need for the season. We set up 24/7/365 team stores that eliminate the hassle of order minimums. Our team stores also get rid of the long two-week order windows and frequent errors. They also provide customers with the fastest turnaround times in the industry and the ONLY 100% replacement guarantee!

Olivia Strobl
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
Dan Soviero

We’re using the funds to scale the Signature Partner Program Team Store model to dominate the lacrosse market and then move into the next team sport! We chose equity crowdfunding because we’re a company built by the players, for the players. We have a very clear vision and mission to grow sports and make them more accessible. And we have the team to execute our vision. For us, the idea of venture capital or PE money was not attractive because of the control they were looking to take along with the short-term returns they focus on. This way, we’re able to maintain the integrity of our mission.

Olivia Strobl
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
Dan Soviero

We have the plan and we have the team to execute it. We have demonstrated our traction with +$8 mil in lifetime sales over the past four years, and we are really just getting started!

Olivia Strobl
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
Dan Soviero

We are expanding into the +$120 billion dollar athletic apparel market, and our innovative approach gives us a distinct durable distribution and data advantage. At Signature we talk a lot about our principles, when we think about the future of the business we prioritize first things first and control what we can control. Right now we are laser-focused on scaling to +$100 mil in annual sales by rolling out the Signature Partner Program Team Store solution to all sports and signing 1,000 programs!

We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Dan and his team take the company. Signature Lacrosse is currently raising on StartEngine.

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About: Olivia Strobl

Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.

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