Tech Q&A: Boise startup helps you register for sports camps

A Boise startup takes over the registration and payment process for sports camps.

krodine@idahostatesman.comJuly 2, 2013 

0625 netcamps.JPG

CEO Chris Chattin, right, runs NetCamps.com with help from Chris Petrilli, development and sales, left. In the middle is Asa Lin, an intern from Taiwan, who wrapped up his service at NetCamps this spring.

PROVIDED BY NETCAMPS.COM

  • NetCamps

    Name: NetCamps.com

    Owner: Chris Chattin

    Type of entity: LLC

    Location: 520 W. Idaho St., Boise; part of the Greenhouse, an incubator run by the Small Business Development Center, the city of Boise and Boise State University

    Phone: (800) 262-3214

    Employees: Four commission-based contract employees

    Website: www.netcamps.com

    Investors: None

    Startup costs: "Not much beyond the standard registration, domain and design costs. Just a ton of personal time and effort."

    Price: Free to sign up and use. "We charge a small percentage of the camp registration fee on the back end." Chattin declines to specify percentages, which vary.

Chris Chattin has bold goals for his 18-month-old company, currently lodged at the Greenhouse business incubator in Boise.

"We want NetCamps to become the de facto standard that people use to run their camps," he says. "People do their taxes with TurboTax. We want people to run their camps with NetCamps."

A former intern with Boise State University football, Chattin saw first-hand the time-consuming hassles of getting kids registered for football camp. He decided to launch a business to address those issues - though he's quick to point out it wasn't his idea.

"It was Miss Vicki [Vicki Sullivan, management assistant for BSU football]," he says. Sullivan is an unofficial mentor to NetCamps.

The company signed up its first camp in April 2012 and in February launched its new software as a service version, in which software and associated data are hosted via cloud computing. Chattin, who says he had no previous tech background, taught himself to be a programmer and web designer.

Now NetCamps has 30 clients, ranging from church camps with about 20 participants to university football camps with 1,500 registrants. And the fledgling company is already turning a profit, Chattin says. He declined to disclose revenues.

"The beauty of an Internet company is overhead is so low," Chattin says. "You can really get started with a $200 laptop and an Internet connection, plus your brainpower and initiative."

Q: What is your business about?

A: If you've ever signed your kid up for a camp, you know the paperwork can be a pain. It's an even bigger pain for the people running the camp when they are dealing with hundreds or thousands of those. What we do is take that entire signup and pay process and make it paperless online. We take months worth of work for the camp staff and boil it down into a couple minutes of setup.

Q: With whom do you compete?

A: The status quo, ha-ha. The Active Network is the major competitor.

Q: What makes your business unusual or special?

A: Everyone on staff has collegiate [or higher] coaching experience. We've all run camps and understand what coaches go through on a daily basis.

Q: Do you partner with other businesses?

A: Yes, we have a couple of referral partnerships. Give us a call or email if you're curious, or want to become a referral partner.

Q: What did you do previously?

A: Football ops at Boise State University. Pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Q: Why did you decide to get into this particular business?

A: Working as a member of the football staff at BSU and dealing with the administrative hassle that comes from operating a large sports camp. Saw a huge need, and no ideal solution.

Q: What challenges have you faced, and how have you met them?

A: When I first decided to act on the idea, I knew nothing about programming. I started with the classic Google search, "how to build a website," and (pieced) together knowledge from there.

Q: Why should people do business with you?

A: We understand what's important to a coach and what they go through on a daily basis. We're young and hungry and will treat you right.

Q: Why should people work for you?

A: Technologists: The CEO intimately knows the code [he wrote it] and what it's like to build software. It's an exciting industry, and we are using cutting edge tools. There is freedom to make decisions and zero red tape. We practice agile concepts and constantly deploy. The work you do on a daily basis is used by real people.

Other potential workers: We are all former athletes. We understand teamwork, hard work and what it takes to win. It's a very relaxed, casual environment where you will be judged on performance, not superficial impressions.

Kristin Rodine: 377-6447

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service