Founded in 2011, SwingU (Swing By Swing Golf, Inc.) is a golf technology and media company that creates content and technology for golfers. SwingU CEO Charles Cox talked to Innovation Destination Hartford about the company’s challenges and growth.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about your company’s evolution.
CHARLES COX: SwingU was one of the world’s first free golf GPS and scorecard mobile apps and has more than 4.5 million registered users around the world. Our app has been 5-star rated in the Apple and Android app stores for several years.
IDH: What has been the biggest startup challenge? Anything you wish you’d done differently?
CHARLES: The biggest startup challenge has been finding top-notch design and development employees. It takes time to convince quality employees to leave great jobs and join a more venture-stage firm.
Our management team has worked at both large, public companies and startup, early-stage companies. We’ve learned from many experiences and failures. Staying nimble, testing products within a niche user base for feedback, and avoiding too large of a marketing spend early in a product’s life cycle are key learnings.
IDH: Has your company been involved with any startup entrepreneurial resources in Connecticut?
CHARLES: Yes, the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is our largest creditor and individual investor. The commissioner and her staff have been extremely supportive and helpful as we’ve grown 50% year-over-year three years in a row. We have also signed a lease with Upward Hartford, which gives our employees the opportunity to use their facility as a home base.
IDH: How are you marketing and attracting clients?
CHARLES: We spend about 5% to 10% of the marketing spend of our competitors. Our product has grown organically via word-of-mouth and organic searches for top-rated golf GPS apps online and in the app stores. When we do spend money, we focus on the Apple and Android app stores, as well as the large online networks (Google, Facebook, and Instagram).
IDH: Where do you hope to see the company in two to five years’ time?
CHARLES: We want to be the go-to technology and media company in golf for golfers looking to improve and instructors who want to grow their lesson businesses. We’ve already grown from five to 15 employees and we’d love to create a fast-growing, 50+ employee presence in Hartford, CT.
Learn more about SwingU