Around the time that on-fire TechStars start-up Shelby.tv was closing its $1.5 million round, co-founder Joe Yevoli walked. It wasn’t that he didn’t have faith in the product; he didn’t have a falling out with the team. He just… wasn’t feeling it. “Truth be told, I don’t watch a lot of web video,” he wrote on his blog today. “But right now if I watch a web video it’s something specific. And, if I miss something, I’m fine with it.” And there was something else: HomeField, a web-based video platform for coaches to share game footage, the precursor to Shelby.tv, was being neglected as co-founders Dan Spinosa and Reece Pacheco found their time sucked away by the social video site.
A former Division I All-American, National Champion and professional athlete, Mr. Yevoli was more passionate about the sporty start-up the trio had “boot-strapped the shit out of” for about three years. It hit him early on during TechStars, he recalls, sometime in February. “I was watching Shelby trying to think of the best way ads could fit in without being obtrusive to the user when it hit me,” he writes. “‘Do I really want to be working on something like this?’ I thought. ‘I hate ads. Is this what I want my contribution to the world to be?’ I remember thinking, ‘I should take over HomeField.’
But it wasn’t until a fateful train ride in mid-May that Mr. Yevoli worked up the nerve to take the plunge. By coincidence, Mr. Spinosa and Mr. Pacheco joined him for dinner the next night and asked him if he wanted to take over HomeField.
“They’re my best friends and they backed my decision100 percent,” Mr. Yevoli told Betabeat via Twitter. “And, will continue to help in anyway they can.”
“Totally supportive on both sides,” Mr. Pacheco tweeted in. “HomeField is a great business and Joe is the right man for the job.”
“Since then, I’ve had some scary ‘Oh, F*&K’ moments,” writes Mr. Yevoli, who is now HomeField’s CEO. “After all, it’s not exactly easy to walk away from a $1.5mm investment, especially after you’ve been bootstrapping for 3+ years. Nevertheless, I’ve already pitched to a few investors, I’ve made a major improvement to the product, and I even have a new lead engineer on board (more on that later). Most importantly, I’m happy as can be, and believe I’m building something that will have a positive and lasting effect on a lot of people.”
Act of courage, or a touch of the start-up mania? Either way, Mr. Yevoli seems happy to be working on a web video start-up that doesn’t subject him to hours of owling.