April 6, 2016

Working In Boston Tech: Hudl

Today in our Working In Boston Tech series, we hear from the team at Hudl, a sports + technology company that is changing the sports industry. The company creates software that helps coaches win, athletes look like pros, and recruiters find more talent.

Hudl's headquarters are based in Lincoln, Nebraska, but they have a Boston product and engineering office which originated after their acquisition of Ubersense (a BostonTechstars alum) in 2014.  Last year, Hudl raised $72.5M in venture capital funding.

Make sure you check out Hudl's BIZZpage for their job openings, as they are hiring for engineering and product positions.

What’s are some of the key characteristics that you look for in candidates when hiring at Hudl?

  1. Push yourself to improve constantly, and show us how you’ve done that.

  2. Measure your work. It’s the only way to know if you’re really achieving what you set out to do.

  3. Be respectful. Not much room for jerks here. room for jerks.

What can someone expect during the interview process?

It’ll be tough, but relevant. We test people on the knowledge and skills that matter for the position we’re hiring for. Most positions have a take-home project or live exercise at some point during the interview process. It’s intense, but we often hear from candidates that it’s really fun, too.

Hudl Boston Team Meeting

What can people expect over the course of their career at Hudl?

They’ll accomplish a ton and grow personally and professionally. We develop and release features about as fast as any software company you can think of, and we take a lot of pride in that. We’re also building tools that haven’t existed before for sports programs.

You’ll get out what you put in. Nothing will be handed to you, but there’s a lot of autonomy and opportunity in that. We’re big enough that you’ll have resources and support but nimble enough that you can carve your own path.

We offer apprenticeships that you can apply for if you want to explore a different area of the company. Spend a few months learning from a different squad, crush it, and maybe there will be an opportunity for you in that new discipline.

We also have Hudl University, which is an opportunity to teach/learn about something either Hudl related or completely different. We offer courses from business development to beer brewing.

Are there any favorite activities that the employees do outside of the office?

As expected, many Hudlies love their sports. This includes going to college games, pro games, playing in leagues, coaching teams, you get the picture. Those of us who are athletes and coaches use Hudl for our very own teams, so we’re definitely thriving on the front lines. The Boston office held it’s own Hudl Combine, doing fitness testing together to test the app we built in partnership with Nike.

We have a lot of runners in our office. Five people (out of 22 in Boston) have run full marathons. We have athletes that still play their sport and some that have moved over to coaching. We have musicians who play shows around Boston and musicians who only play for themselves. You want games? We got ‘em. Jenga is a recent after-hours favorite.

We get a lot of visitors from our other offices in Lincoln, Omaha, London, and Sydney or the states where we hire remote employees. We love to show our visitors a stellar time while they’re in town. Happy Hour? Celtics game? Candlepin bowling? Let’s do it.

Hudl also has a task force devoted to charitable events called the Community Champions. We don’t just throw money at a cause. Hudlies spend our own time out in the world helping others.

And when we’re not doing any of those things or building awesome products, the Boston office spends a good portion of our time together debating whether or not a hotdog is a sandwich. We’ve also recently discovered a true affinity and talent for karaoke together.

Are there any fun facts or unique stories that you can share about Hudl or individuals that work there?

We officially filed as a company on May 5th...making Cinco de Mayo the company’s birthday. Fiesta!

In July of 2010, all three Hudl founders were names in Inc.’s “30 Under 30 List”.

In December of 2012, Brian Kaiser was on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the sports category...along with Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas, and LeBron James.

As for some of the players that make up the team? Well…..We have a Hudlie who:

*  almost threw up on Zac Efron mid-sailboat ride.

*  once broke his leg riding a mechanical bull.

*  was a male baby model.

*  was once on the cover of a sports magazine.

*  kissed Katy Perry.

*  was once the Mayor of a village.

*  their first Twitter follower was the verified Barack Obama.

*  previously held a job making the process of making bacon more efficient.

And the list goes on. If you join our team, come prepared with your own weird fact that will probably end up on the new-hire scavenger hunt.

What TV or movie would best describe the working environment and employees at Hudl?

Probably a mash-up of The Incredibles and Sandlot, but every character has ultrabooks and a Hudl t-shirt.

Do you have any unique benefits or perks? 

Every employee gets an annual “Hudl Pro Trip” - two tickets to a professional or college game of their choosing, as long as one of the teams uses Hudl (fortunately, lots of elite teams use Hudl. We’re talkin’ NBA, NHL, EPL, AFL….).

There’s also the “Hudl Works Smarter” program. Once a year, Hudl buys tickets and flies you to the professional conference of your choice - stuff like WWDC, /build/, Google I/O, etc.

Hudl also flies everyone in the company across the planet to Las Vegas once a year for about five days of team meetings, a business retreat, and the most exciting blackjack you’ll ever see. Last year we rented out an entire nightclub.

The whole product team shuts down production a couple times a year for Skunkworks -- a time to work on projects that are interesting to our employees. People work with new teams and squads that build video games, workout Slackbots, hologram highlights, Apple TV apps as well as many others.

Hudl also organizes intra-company sporting events at HQ with impressive video production. This includes 3v3 basketball, broomball, and a golf tournament. We do our own thing in the Boston office on a smaller scale. Stay tuned for an in-office mini golf series and games to mirror the events in Rio this summer.

Hudl Boston Holiday Party

What’s on tap or in your fridge?

An aggressive assortment of cream cheese (for Bagel Tuesday) and a whole bunch of Bud Light. A case of craft beer or a few bottles of wine might make an appearance if it’s been a particularly busy week.

When we have a new hire class start in Lincoln, each new hire picks their favorite beverage and we supply those particular drinks for the company attending their Graduation. You want it? Ask for it.

Keith Cline is the founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6