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Taking a Look at Lost Lettermen

Written By: Bob 16 August 2010 Other Posts By: Bob
Taking a look is the newest segment of Bob’s Founder’s Block posts.  Each month, I will take a look at a web company.  If you want to be considered for a future post, please email bob@foundersblock.com.

Lostlettermen.com is the largest “where are they now” online sports database.  With a player database of over 150,000 former college basketball and college football players, lostlettermen.com is where you find what former stars have been doing since their playing days ended.

You may be surprised to find that less than two years ago, Lostlettermen.com only existed in the mind of Jim Weber.  A little over 18 months ago, Jim was writing for ESPN the magazine when he had an idea for a website.  A lifetime sports fan, Jim loved the “where are they now” sections in the back of NCAA sports programs.  Seeing an opportunity, Jim took the leap into entrepreneurship.

Jim started created a player database in excel while he searched for a developer to make his vision a reality.  Not knowing of outsourcing sites like Elance.com and Rentacoder, Jim used personal connections to find a developer.  He eventually found a trustworthy family friend to develop the first version of Lost Lettermen.

After the alpha version of Lost Lettermen was created, Jim created partnerships to help gather traffic.  He started writing for Yahoo! in exchange for links back to his website.  Because of this partnership, Lost Lettermen had a decent amount of traffic since the beginning.  Jim also found former athletes to write stories for the blog occasionally.  Regular contributors now include Ty Detmer, Ed O’Bannon, and Charlie Ward.

Passion has been crucial to Lost Lettermen’s early success.  The company was started because Jim had a passion for sports and the follow up stories to fame.  This passion is what has sustained the website to over 2,500 total posts in less than two years.

It’s still early, but I think Lost Lettermen is going to grow into a successful niche company.  What do you think?

4 Lessons to learn from Lost Lettermen

1.)  Have passion
2.)  Created an unfair advantage (Yahoo content, guest contributors)
3.)  Just start!
4.)  Know your limits and find help (developer)
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