Dave Vanslette has an interest in digitizing physical environments and was able to work with his growing interest when he was contacted by the owner of the New York Jets, Woody Johnson. Vanslette and his team later developed an application for the NFL team, which consolidated particular data feeds, including ticket sales, parking and fan attendance, into an analytics platform. “When all of this data is floating around, you can create these insights and allow the operation to run more smoothly,” Vanslette says. “It also allows you to be everywhere at once without having to be everywhere at once.”
James Nunn is another member of the Boston tech scene who has experiencing in managing data with sporting events. Nunn’s experience is with the Olympics. The London-native helped manage some of the on-the-ground operations for the 2012 Olympic Games. Nunn took note of how challenging it is to keep track of everyone at once, especially in a major city with an event as massive as the Olympics. “I’ve had colleagues who worked at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and noticed not much had changed,” Nunn says.
After meeting a few times, Nunn and Vanslette decided to put their business interests of managing people in big places and digitizing physical locations into a new business. The two founders looked at a variety of industries where their backgrounds and experience would be a perfect fit. Keeping in line with their experiences with sports, Vanslette and Nunn decided to work with golf. “We chose golf because we were looking at an industry that was struggling technologically,” Vanslette says. “It very much is a closed ecosystem.”
While the two founders appreciate the sport, they are not avid fans or players. “We don’t have a typical background when compared to other companies in this field,” says Nunn. “It gives us an advantage because we aren’t looking at it as a hobby.”
Vanslette and Nunn founded FAIRWAYiQ in 2014. The company’s service and platform allows golf courses to track a variety of areas which require some form of maintenance. FAIRWAYiQ is described by Nunn as a “hardware through software solution.” The technology behind the service has been built from the ground up by the FAIRWAYiQ development team.
Clients connect to a secure network with the company’s network antenna and data is captured through a series of devices, such as a tracker on golf bags or a GPS on a golf cart, allowing course managers to receive results. Data is then stored on a cloud platform. Clients can use the platform on a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet to track and maintain several different sectors of a golf course. Course managers now have a centralized platform allowing them to supervise their courses in more efficient way. For example, putting a GPS tracker on a lawnmower allows course managers to see where on the course the maintenance crew are trimming and where they should focus their efforts.
The platform has even allowed course managers to increase business, as FAIRWAYiQ also gives insight to how long certain players are spending on holes thanks to pace trackers placed on golf bags. “We’ve developed a system where golf courses can start selling tee times to players,” says Vanslette. “The Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Delaware has used our platform to enable that.”
Over 20 different golf courses have been using the FAIRWAYiQ service with six in the New England area. Many of the courses using FAIRWAYiQ are located in areas of the country where golfing is a popular recreational sport, such as Florida and Arizona.
The company has raised capital from a few small investment groups and investors. A few of them have experience in working on golf courses and within the hospitality business. Vanslette and Nunn are looking to raise more capital this year.
Vanslette and Nunn are two of a team of twelve, but FAIRWAYiQ is looking to expand its employee ranks by seeking more developers.
The long-term goal of the company is to implement their technology in other fields. “We’ve developed a platform that cuts across all industries. The ‘low-level paths, big open spaces’ industries,” Vanslette says. “We are looking to extend FAIRWAYiQ into hotels.” Vanslette wants to use FAIRWAYiQ’s technology to help hotels track their cleaning crews.
“We started out on this journey looking to manage big open spaces through data, and golf has been our test bed for that.” says Nunn. “Ultimately, the opportunities beyond that are significant for us and we are focused on delivering the right solution for any industry. It’s an exciting journey ahead of us.”