With Iowa roots, My Online Camp helps coaches from coast to coast
My Online Camp handles the websites and registration process for more than 1,100 sports camps, including camps at 26 schools in Iowa.
My Online Camp started in 2006 with a single client and a single goal: helping coaches and camp operators promote and manage camps more successfully. Today, the Ames-based startup has 1,100 clients and counting scattered across the country. But the story of the company's growth starts with a King Kong-sized footprint in its home state.
In Iowa alone, coaches at 26 colleges and universities — including Drake, Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa, the state's four Division I schools— use My Online Camp software to help manage their camps. "So more than likely," Don Myers, the CEO of My Online Camp said in an email, "if you've registered for a camp in Iowa in the past five years, you've used My Online Camp."
It has clients in the college, high school and specialty camp ranks, ranging from the Atlantic (North Carolina, Miami) to the Pacific (Oregon State, Washington) and from the deep south (Auburn, Alabama) to the far north (Minnesota, Providence). But it all started in Iowa. Myers co-founded My Online Camp in April of 2006 in collaboration with Urbandale-based web development company DWebware and former Drake men's basketball coach Keno Davis.
My Online Camp, which Myers likens to "TicketMaster for sports camps," is software that helps coaches run camps by providing a website with a unique domain name, processing camp registrations via that website with secure credit card transactions and providing reports on campers that are customizable and require minimal data entry.
Myers (left) said there are other players in the space — Active.com is chief among them — but that My Online Camp has an edge over the competition because it's tailored specifically to camps rather than trying to accommodate registration for things like road races. "My Online Camp serves the college and high school coach – and does it well," he said. "Because we are very niche specific, our software holds an ease-of-use advantage — easy to register for camp, easy to run the camp.”
The company, which counts 11 Iowans among its 14 investors — notice a theme here yet? —makes its money by taking a percentage of each registration it processes. Camp organizers can choose whether to foot that bill themselves or charge registrants the fee. "This is a very high volume, low margin business," Myers said. "If you are not processing extremely high numbers, you won’t make it in this business."
Fortunately for My Online Camp, that volume keeps growing. The company, which now has six employees, hit 1,000 clients in July and eclipsed 1,100 in November.
"A lot of our business is done based on referrals," Myers said. "The coaching community isn't a big one, and good news travels fast. And as it does, we continue to grow."