Easy Does It
Michael Ressler and Tom Matta
As a Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate and assistant women's volleyball coach, Michael Ressler found himself mired in statistics and software with confusing data entry methods. What to do?
No problem — the computer science major took out his palm pilot and developed his own technology.
Today, Ressler (CS'02) is the CEO and co-founder of StatEasy, providing unique athletic statistics tracking and video synchronization software — grown from the original.
"Coaches commonly record live statistics and video during any sporting event," explained Tom Matta (E,TPR'07), who recently joined Ressler as COO and co-founder.
"To make the most of this data, the information needs to be married together and with StatEasy, coaches are able synchronize video and stats via a simple one-click process."
Ressler added, "It's very customizable and you can learn it in a matter of minutes. It really is the perfect marriage of quantitative and qualitative information."
In addition, they're working to adapt their tool for other custom media uses, including highlight reel construction, social media posting, live updates for recruiters and more.
"People spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars creating video highlight reels for applications to college and scholarships," noted Ressler. "But videotaping is already being done by the coaches."
Both Ressler and Matta believe they owe much to their ties with Carnegie Mellon.
"Our networks just pushed us together," said Ressler. "Tom was chasing his own digital media opportunity — everyone said we had to meet. He even had a spreadsheet of features he needed that I'd already built."
Added Matta, "That's the thing about CMU — the synergies in terms of experience and complementary skill sets. If you're interested in business, you can meet technologists. If you're a technologist, you can walk over to Tepper and meet people who are passionate about business development and marketing."
And growing a startup with a fellow alumnus has its own advantages.
"You have to work at maintaining a business relationship, and it really does help when you have that shared sense of being at CMU," said Ressler.
The pair is also grateful for the resources of Carnegie Mellon's Greenlighting Startups — a consortium of campus incubators with an impressive record of turning campus innovations into sustainable new businesses.
"I was fortunate enough to have mentors guide me in the right directions, like Tom Emerson, Jack Roseman and our advisor Dave Mawhinney, from the Don Jones Center," said Matta. "Kit Needham at Project Olympus has been very helpful, as have a number of CMU professors."
"Entrepreneurship at CMU is about paying it forward," he added. "Many of these people tell stories about their mentors. One day we'll be telling stories about them."
"The reason we keep coming back to CMU is that the smartest people in the world are here. It's hard to find that kind of energy, intelligence and creativity in any other community."