January 7, 2015

New CoachUp CEO Adds Ecommerce and Consumer Marketing Credentials to Boston Startup

CoachUp, the online service that connects athletes with private coaches, today announced the addition of John Kelley as CEO. A move the company sees as a competitive advantage in the fast moving sports coaching market. 

Kelley, a 30-year marketing veteran, served in a variety of leadership roles in both Fortune 50 companies and startups.  His experience includes brand management responsibilities with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, as well as heading up marketing for                          

Kelley’s most recent role, as CMO of The Princeton Review – whose core customers are kids and their parents – is what really drew the attention of CoachUp Founder, Jordan Fliegel, who will continue on as the company’s President. 

“My number one responsibility has been to build a great team. When I met John it was a match made in heaven,” Fliegel told me. Adding, “We were so aligned on everything throughout the entire process. I fell in love with John and knew he was the right guy for the next stage of CoachUp.” 

Kelley, who has startup experience with Imagitas, a marketing services company acquired by Pitney Bowes for $230 million in 2005, said to me, “Startups are all about the people. What really sealed the move for me was actually coming to CoachUp, meeting the team and seeing their enthusiasm.” 

Kelley and Fliegel both highlighted their chemistry. Having spent a significant amount of time together during the roughly month-long courting process, they came to realize how complimentary they were. 

As Fliegel, who wanted someone to help him scale the growing business, simply put it, “we couldn’t have found a better fit.” 

In a statement, Kelley added: 

“Jordan has a phenomenal personal story that he’s translated into a robust and exciting business, and I’m eager to get started.  We have the opportunity to change the way we as parents, adults and kids achieve sports and fitness goals.  CoachUp has over 13,000 premier, highly rated coaches who’ve helped over 100,000 athletes, young and old, from across the country. The business is supported with a stable of blue-chip investors and advisors, including outstanding celebrity athletes such as the NFL's
Julian Edelman and the NBA's Nerlens Noel.  I’m honored to be a part of this team.” 

Many of CoachUp’s investors and board members weighed in on the move as well. Among them: 

“John’s addition as CEO further rounds out an All-star lineup for CoachUp, joining Founder/President Jordan Fliegel, CTO Gene Shkolnik (former SVP Product at, and Director of Engineering Arian Randmand (Forbes “30 under 30,” 2014) among others. CoachUp has experienced stellar growth since the company's founding in 2012, and we’re excited to bring aboard someone who can help the company scale the business into a household name as the leader in improving adults and kids skills and fitness." 

Scott Savitz, Founder & Managing Partner, Data Point Capital 

“John Kelley's addition as CEO further strengthens a big-time line up at CoachUp. Jordan Fliegel (Founder and President), Gene Skolnick (CTO), Arian Radmand (Director of Engineering), and the CoachUp team have done a fantastic job creating and building out the market leading online platform for private coaching services and aggregating thousands of premier coaches and aspiring young athletes on the CoachUp platform. John’s leadership skills and marketing acumen will help further accelerate the growth of CoachUp as the dominant player in private sports coaching.” 

Dennis Baldwin, CEO Breakaway Innovation Group, and CoachUp Board Observer

Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter @jb_sid
 and keep up with his latest posts by signing up for the VentureFizz Weekly Email!