DURHAM – While playing football at Duke, Zach Maurides experienced firsthand how difficult it was to get a team of players all working together on the same page.

So he decided to do something about it.

Then a sophomore, he came up with the idea of a web-based platform to help players and coaches share information and communicate better – and by all accounts, the company built around the app that later developed –  Teamworks – has taken off.

Since its launch in 2010, the company has raised $21.55 million in funding and now powers more than 2,000 pro and college teams globally – and counting. Among its many clients is the NCAA and its 132 teams in the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

“It’s a lot of scale really fast,” admits Mitch Heath, 29, also a Duke grad and Teamwork’s chief growth officer, who co-founded the startup with Maurides, now 33, and Shaun Powell.

Teamworks’ chief growth officer Mitch Heath.

On Monday night, Teamworks opened its doors to the public for Big top’s latest Startup Crawl, inviting others to tour its newly expanded headquarters in downtown Durham on Parrish Street.

Just a few years ago, the company was working out of a basement office in the Trotter Building, with only four employees. Since then, it relocated to its current location and bought the building over, blowing out a wall to accommodate its growing staff of some 100 employees.

As for the app itself, it helps with everything from team scheduling and travel to file and video sharing and electronic forms.

While there are some adjacent products, along with a whole ecosystem of technology products in athletics, Heath maintains that they’ve got no direct competition so far.

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“No one is doing exactly what we’re doing,” he says. “For the organizations that we serve, we are the hub of communications and operations. Often we’re competing against status quo — this coach who has used a clipboard for 20 years.”

Scaling smartly

As it so happens, founders Maurides and Heath didn’t meet during their time at Duke. It was actually while hanging out in the local startup scene, did their paths cross.

It’s certainly been a whirlwind, but they’ve done their best to manage such fast growth.

“We are really obsessed with discipline — what markets are we going to sell into, who we say no to and don’t sell to. That’s a big guiding factor for us. We’re really careful about not spreading ourselves too thin,” says Heath.

Another key to their success is working with mentors who have “been there, done that”.

“That has been big for me. I have a coach who helps a lot. Zach’s done the same. Our executive is very strong, but then we all have mentors outside the building that kind of know where the potholes are. As a first-time founder, I’m sometimes navigating in the dark. That kind of wisdom to lean on is huge.”

Durham’s Teamworks has 100 employees and counting.

At present, the company is in full-on growth mode. Check out their jobs notice board, and you’ll find at least eight positions currently open – from engineering to customer service and sales positions.

Meanwhile, the company also has its own Teamworks’ Academy that offers entry-level training for athletes interested in moving into the technology sector.

Ultimately, Heath says, the company’s mission is to empower every single elite athlete in the world.

“It’s an ambitious goal,” he says. “We have great market penetration in the U.S., so now it’s about growing and deepening the products and services that we are providing. The big growth opportunity is as we get into European soccer, Australia and New Zealand football and ultimately non-English speaking countries.”