The motive was simple: Find a way to win more basketball games. This was Vasu Kulkarni’s self-appointed task during his senior year at the University of Pennsylvania as a member of the junior varsity basketball team.
He wanted to make an impact with the varsity so he began a project that involved breaking down game stats. Kulkarni, who graduated with a degree in computer engineering and entrepreneurship, turned the idea into Krossover, an online video platform that coaches can use to cut and analyze game film.
The service is like using an outsourced video editing team; coaches upload raw footage to krossover.com; a 700-member Krossover index team reviews the footage and clips and tags every play.
About 80 percent of customers are high school teams and 20 percent are college teams, according to Amyn Bandali, Krossover’s director of operations. The vast majority are basketball teams, but the service is also available for lacrosse, football and volleyball. Orders for the service were capped at 475 during the 2011-12 season when the platform launched. Krossover marketing manager Joshua Waller anticipates subscriptions to reach 5,000 teams this year, up from 2,100 last year.
“Before tools like Krossover, coaches would either have to do hours of manual work to collect data or they would make decisions based what they ‘felt’ was right,” Kulkarni said. “Now, your average high school coach and athlete can be just as data-driven in their decision making as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.”
Players and coaches can filter clips after a game is indexed. For basketball, for instance, every pass, shot and rebound as well as the players involved in each respective action is catalogued. A player can search clips for how many shots he missed in a game and watch each clip back to back. The service also delivers advanced data such as shooting percentages based on location (e.g., around the rim, mid-range and behind the three-point line).
“Krossover is a digestible way to study film. It’s more valuable and engaging than looking at an entire game all at once,” Waller said.
Montrose Christian School (Rockville, Md.) boys basketball coach Bryan Bartley, who has used the service for the past two seasons, says he is most impressed by the stats the service generates. Because Krossover helps him assess where his players shoot most and least successfully, he said he’s convinced this gives his team a competitive advantage. By watching their mistakes and knowing what to improve on in practice, his players are ultimately better prepared for games.
“Players don’t always realize they’ve made a mistake unless they see it, and Krossover allows them to see it,” Bartley said. “It allows my players to get right to the point.”
Bartley said he’s amazed by the footage turnaround time, which ranges from 12 to 48 hours depending the team’s subscription plan. Krossover offers three plans, the least expensive of which costs $800 per season with a 23-game limit. The most popular subscription costs $1,400 and offers footage breakdown for up to four games a week with no season limit. The most comprehensive plans costs $2,500 and provides unlimited game footage breakdown for the season.
“Players have to understand that they must spend time learning how to improve their game. They’re going to spend time looking at tapes in college,” Barley said. “This is the closest thing for a high school player to help prepare for the next level.”