Rich Abend is the CEO of Famer, a mobile app which is an interactive cloud-based youth sports platform that has been finding a solution for parents trying to solve what to do with their time during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Famer accomplishes that goal through partnership with group like US Sports camps and the NBPA.
Abend joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about Famer and how the mentorship platform application is helping coaches and clubs reach kids and their parents more effectively.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Abend has always had a passion for youth sports.
"I was born in a family of coaches and educators so sports was a part of me from the get go, I really took to it. I have such a passion for it both personally and personally. I think we all know the things playing sports, being on a team, building toward something, what that can do for you for the rest of your life. But yet, it's interesting in these last handful of months I think kids have been forced, and I see it with my own children to kind of figure it out again and play on the streets and running around bike riding and finding courts and doing different things as long as it's social distancing with kids that you know. The way we grew up was I'll meet you outside and we'll go play sports. There were the organized sports but I think you learned as much about what you did on the streets of the Bronx, going and finding kids to play against and compete against as much as anything."
Rich's late father Herb was a very successful coach at Bronx High School of Science. Even though Rich lost his dad 15 years ago, he thinks about him all the time.
"I do. There are things that seeped in, leessons that he handled himself, the way that he treated his players, the relationship he had with his players and students. My brother older brother, who is ten years older than me, is still a very active and successful coach. That was a big part of it. So when the opportunity to build a company like Famer came up, for me, like I always say, it's not a professional passion, it's a personal passion. If my father could see how I'm so involved in not only sports but in a profession that he loved, I'm sure he'd be very pleased."
The technology of Famer began in Israel.
"The vision for Famer was built in Tel Aviv, and all our technology is still built where you some of the most accomplished and creative tech builders, especially when it comes to video and artificial intelligence and analytics in anywhere in the world. We still have an office in Tel Aviv where we're building all our tech and building out of. We launched the company in New York City about 15 months ago."
Abend admits you can never take the place of what happens in person between coaches and kids.
"But Famer was always, both pre-COVID and post-COVID was always meant to be an extension and enhancement of that relationship. All of those things you don't get to on the field or on the courts that in groups and team training, you're now able to continue to extend and help kids get better, whatever their better is."
Famer is hyper-focused on lacrosse and soccer, and then basketball. Abend says what makes Famer special is that the app uses a different model. They are also content creators.
"We actually help them (coaches and clubs) to put their training content on film. These great coaches, clubs and organizations, they have their own teaching and training style, their own intellectual property or secret sauce in the way they teach train and communicate. We'll shoot the content, produce it, edit it, curate it, post it and ultimately distribute it."
Abend says there's a large amount of female athletes that are taking advantage of Famer. He says it's a huge market right now.
"It really is. Girls are playing sports as much as the boys are. It's exploded in the last bunch of years. For us, and this is a little tongue and check, girls are actually better users of technology in Famer than the boys are. They seem to be more accountable. They've been just great users of Famer."
Abend, who has a 13-year old son and a 14-year old daughter, says Famer works with about 50-thousand schools and about 150-thousand volunteers. For me, it's just been incredible.
Click above to hear the entire SportsJam conversation with Rich Abend.