Nashville FC's journey out of the startup phase

Nashville FC made something of a splash on the U.S. soccer scene two years ago when it unveiled its supporter-owned model. The founding group led by Chris Jones got things rolling on the field for the 2014 season but soon realized there was work to be done in building the club's infrastructure. Over at our Southern/alpha sister blog, J.R. Lind has the story on how Jones connected with local startup guru Marcus Whitney to set about that job.

Whitney has helped implement all manner of record-keeping and data management tools, helping NFC track member participation and follow up with game-goers to take the next stop and become members. The club also has created an out-of-town membership for people from all over the world inspired by NFC who got on board early but (for obvious reasons) can’t attend games.

Check out more here.

Sep 21, 2015 10:49 AM

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Reports of Pennsylvania soccer team sniffing around Greer raises local club's hackles

A story in The Tennessean on the post-Sounds future of Greer Stadium raises the possibility that Pennsylvania's Harrisburg City Islanders soccer team is looking to relocate south as early as 2017.

From Joey Garrison's story:

Eric Pettis, majority owner of the Harrisburg City Islanders, a club in the United Soccer Leagues, met with Nashville officials in the fall about the possibility of moving his team to Nashville, perhaps to Greer. His goal is to stay in Harrisburg, but the club's ownership team has been unable to move forward on getting a new stadium there.

"Soccer in this country is growing like crazy and you've got to look at whatever opportunities are out there," said Pettis, who has explored other markets in addition to Nashville. The hope would be to relocate by 2017 if the team picks that route. He called Greer and Nashville "definitely one of the better options we're looking at."

After the Nashville Metros folded in 2013, Nashville was a void on the American soccer ladder. A social-media movement ultimately led to the creation of Nashville FC, a supporter-owned club that competes in the National Premier Soccer League (the supporters-backed group merged with Nashville Atlas, which was intended as a traditional, ownership-group controlled club). The NPSL is on the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid (the Metros were also on that level); Harrisburg's USL is the third tier.

The scuttlebutt about Harrisburg has, understandably, raised the ire of Nashville FC backers — there are now 800 or so member-supporters of the club — who feel they've been left out of the conversation about the growth of pro and semi-pro soccer in Middle Tennessee, despite regularly drawing 1,500-2,000 fans to games last year at Vanderbilt's soccer complex.

"When I first read the article, I immediately felt a level of disrespect for our club and our members. Then it turned to feeling sorry for those in Harrisburg who have supported that club for all those years. Leveraging a city like that goes against everything we stand for at Nashville FC and to think the local soccer community would just turn a blind eye is a bit arrogant on their part. We’ve worked very hard to create a first class NPSL organization and first class product on game days…our supporters recognize that and we love them for it," Chris Jones, Nashville FC's president of business development and the man whose tweet started the ball rolling for Nashville, said to the NashvillePost.

Chairman of the board Marcus Whitney wrote an impassioned post on Facebook, which read in part:

I didn't think I'd react this way, but I'm pretty furious about this. I've been hearing rumblings from all sorts of people around town about other groups trying to bring a team here, and the fact that these folks wouldn't even speak to the leadership at Nashville FC is a total smack in the face to the local supporters. And don't say you didn't know we existed.

Harrisburg City Islanders... This is Our Town, and Nashville FC is Our Club. You wanna come here? Talk to us first.

Any move to Greer, according to Garrison's story, is far from a done deal, though one of the other interested tenants — a rodeo operator — said Metro's response to his proposal was less than enthusiastic and a representative for Kroger said the grocery company was in "wait and see mode."

Apparently, the most popular proposal for the future of Greer, at least among folks in the neighborhood, is for expanded green space, but if that isn't the answer Metro chooses, and if the Harrisburg City Islanders want to make their future in Nashville, they'll have a vociferous group of locals pushing back.

Feb 13, 2015 11:21 AM

Picking up where Burcham has left off

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Dec 19, 2014 11:53 AM

Jumpstart Foundry names new president

Moontoast co-founder to lead growing business accelerator
Oct 27, 2014 12:59 PM

Jumpstart Foundry to up investments, run year round

Accelerator to offer 2015 class $100K each
Aug 22, 2014 6:58 AM

Moontoast lands second patent

Moontoast, the social commerce platform company that is co-based in Boston and Nashville, has landed its second patent.

Marcus Whitney, Moontoast's Nashville-based co-founder and chief technology officer, landed the patent (titled "System and method of analyzing and valuating social media campaigns”) with John Baker of Cambridge, Mass.

“It’s the analytics message for scoring so that we can know what is successful or not successful for those social media campaigns our clients use,” Whitney (pictured) told the Post via phone.

The patent is a continuation of the first Moontoast patent, Whitney said.

Aug 13, 2013 8:30 AM

In focus: Marcus Whitney

Moontoast co-founder stays true to company — and to Nashville
Mar 5, 2013 10:44 AM

JumpStart Foundry adds COO

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Jan 25, 2013 11:55 AM

MoonToast gets a look from VentureBeat

VentureBeat takes a look at local social media commerce outfit MoonToast following this past weekend's BarCamp Nashville, at which CTO Marcus Whitney talked about the company.

“Our model is that social is very dynamic and not static. As a result of that, if you just put a store on a Facebook tab, it will not work,” Whitney said, noting that the real influence comes in a person’s news feed.

According to MoonToast’s research, about half of all engagement on a post happens in the first 80 minutes. After 24 hours, engagement falls to almost zero. “So you have to post on a very regular basis and you have to incorporate it (your commerce) into social media to be successful,” Whitney said, adding that the company has achieved $10,000 in a single hour multiple times.

The article goes on:

MoonToast’s Distributed Store gave way to a specialized Facebook app called Impulse, which allows Facebook fans to purchase physical goods, listen to music and buy digital downloads — all without having to leave the site. MoonToast clients actually see a boost in fans after integrating commerce into their social media efforts, according to Whitney.

Oct 18, 2011 12:35 PM