On-demand sports officiating marketplace

Raising $580,000

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Whistle: Fast Facts

At Whistle, our vision is to make sports officiating universally accessible to everybody.

As a team we’ve all had similar experiences of how difficult it is to connect organized sports events with qualified officials.

Our revolutionary on-demand marketplace application removes all barriers and inefficiencies to drive inclusion by providing greater access and convenience.

Whistle allows first-time and qualified officials of all ages to find games they need based on their location, while game providers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Over 200 million amateur sports games played domestically each year lack reliable access, communication and payments to sports officials of all ages.

As a result, there’s critical mass disruption with more games rescheduled or cancelled, fewer sports played, teams dropped altogether and player protection at risk.

It turns out there’s a simple explanation:
the sports officiating industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep fees artificially high, reaping profits from customers who had no other options and a severe lack of technology transformation in 30 years‼️

Sports officiating offers many rewarding benefits and career opportunities, while it is a great way to give back to the community, help develop interpersonal skills, stay involved in sports and make more per hour than an Uber or Lyft driver.

Barriers and inefficiencies.

Existing platforms are outdated and predominantly web-based.

This has made it impossible to re-engage customers and younger officials to stay connected. Accessing officials, especially new talent pools, is impossible with assignor's still sharing spreadsheets of databases.

Worse yet, communicating with officials is rigid and unreliable (with email still being the preferred method).

As is often the case, meaningful information frequently gets lost in the shuffle - if it's received at all.

As if that weren't enough, inexperienced officials are locked out of opportunities to advance, especially females, who are often funneled to officiate female games only.

Enter Whistle.

A groundbreaking solution that’s identified a global unmet demand and supply need with clear potential to capture excess capacity in the marketplace.

Our value proposition includes:

Our mission at Whistle is to become the world’s #1 marketplace to drive inclusion, inspire and accelerate the advancement of all sports officials.

How It Works

Meet The Leadership

Oliver Barton | Founder and CEO

  • Oliver founded Whistle after immigrating to the United States with a visionary spirit to increase the liquidity of the market.
  • Brings over a decade of mobile and web technology client and team experience including PayPal, City Football Group, Harper Collins, Ambassador Theater Group, SoccerEx and St. Ives PLC (now Kin + Carta) he believes that scheduling officials should be both easy and rewarding.
  • Oliver continues to tip the company towards becoming a clearinghouse where neither side of the marketplace would favor an alternative by building momentum and distribution relationships.

Dean Blandino | Non-Executive Director

  • Current FOX Sports Rules Analyst and former Senior Vice President of NFL Officiating.
  • First introduced to the world of officiating nearly 25 years ago when he was hired as an NFL intern, quickly rising to become an Instant Replay Official from 1999 to 2003 and was selected to work two Super Bowls and two conference championships.
  • Highly respected for his unique insights and interpretation of the rules, Dean was also recently named the director of instant replay for college football officiating.

Michael Radchuk | League and Referee Development

  • After immigrating from Siberia, Russia to Orange County in 2000, Michael shared his passion for sports by taking his talents to the field as a youth soccer coach and referee.
  • With 15+ years experience, he is a professional referee within the United Soccer League and tipped for Major League Soccer.
  • Using his experience in sales, marketing and people management, Michael founded Rent-A-Ref, which expanded to a national scale before it was acquired by Whistle in January 2019.

David VanWiggeren | Board of Director

  • David is CEO of Drop Tank, a company that specializes in fuel and convenience store loyalty solutions. Drop Tank’s technology currently connects to over 4,000 gas stations in the United States, processing millions of loyalty transactions per year.
  • David is also the President of the Ottawa Soccer Club, a rapidly growing recreational youth soccer club in Northwest Illinois. He has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management.

Chris Webb | Board of Director

  • Chris is a managing partner at Hickory VC, an LA based venture capital firm focused on early-stage sports technology companies and Vice President of Business Development at The Gores Group, a global private equity firm specializing in acquiring and partnering with mature and growing businesses.
  • Prior to Hickory VC, Chris was the Managing Director at Ireland Ventures, a family office making opportunistic private equity and venture capital investments. Chris earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.

Jake Ireland | Board of Director

  • Jake is a Founding Partner at Hickory VC, an LA based venture capital firm focused on early-state sports technology companies.
  • Prior to Hickory VC, Jake was the Founder and CEO at Ireland Ventures, a family office making opportunistic private equity and venture capital investments.
  • Jake earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University and has his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Midwestern University.

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