Running A Business: Founder of Trackster, Emmett Scully
November 02, 20226 min read
Here at the Zensah HQ, it has been a busy and hectic (in a good way) November, and it's only begun! Along with giving back and celebrating how grateful we are for you (and the running community) with The Gratitude Sale, we're launching a new series of blog post called: Running A Business. This series will spotlight founders who are runners, business builders, creatives, and industry leaders! Turns out running and running a business have a lot in common, and our goal is to uncover marvelous stories to inspire and motivate our community. So, if you are a runner who runs a business, or know anyone who'd be a great feature...let us know!
But for now we're kicking off the first Running A Business feature with a founder we're partnering with this week ... Emmett Scully! Scully is a distance runner (obviously), lover of the Chicago Bears, has a beloved dog named Riggins, and founder of the all-in-one running app,Trackster.
Read on to discover how Emmett went from running to founding Trackster, learn more on why you should download the App (like right now), and just....get inspired by this founder who's Running A Business!
Tell us the story of your business, Trackster. Why did you decide to build this business?
I ran XC/TF at Boston College starting in 2014. I was frustrated with my coach's lack of organization, planning, and tracking amongst my team. Before college, shout out Hinsdale Central Coaches: Lawrence and Wesphal - my high school coaches were incredibly meticulous and committed to improving each guy's capabilities. It honestly felt like a step down in many ways going to the NCAA. My first instinct was to come up with products that could help solve these problems. Once I started thinking about running problems that I and other athletes faced, I found it was a rabbit hole that I fell in love getting lost in.
What need does Trackster meet for runners that's different from other running apps out there?
There’s fitness tracking apps that are great for cycling, climbing, etc. but as far as running goes, I want there to be no doubt which app is most committed to helping runners over the next decade + … the answer is going to be Trackster!
I think more than any products and features, runners need brands that will stick with them and continue to uplift the sport.
As far as our app goes, the entire platform is free, we have more features than the top apps, and a fresher approach. I’d really just recommend people check out the app for themselves and see what I mean. We release updates and try new ideas much faster than any other app and will continue to do so.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
The first app I had started developing in college as I mentioned above was a stopwatch timing app for track coaches. That was originally called smartTrack. I continued improving the stopwatch app and prototyping some other different ideas. I was sitting on a curb in Sydney, Australia while studying abroad in 2017 and saw a truck drive by that had "SmartTrack" painted on the side. It was at that point I felt compelled to change the name to something more unique. I just kept adding to a list of a bunch of names over the next few weeks for titles I could think of with tons of bad names and random stuff. Then, I sat down one day and just crossed off the list one by one until Trackster was the only one left!
What does running and running a business have in common? (Can be anything, e.g." grit, focus, determination...etc.)
Distance running has taught me, and continues to teach me, so much incredibly applicable stuff that I use every single day. The most important lesson in my opinion is the value in consistently stacking small bits of work everyday. In short, it's the cliché: "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
I also think often of this: Going into my freshman year of high school I ran a 15:47 for 2 miles. By the time I was a sophomore in college, I could run a significantly faster time for a longer distance of 5k (3.1 miles). If you had told me that I would be able to add in a mile and some extra and still run faster than that 2 mile time when I was just starting running in high school, I would’ve never believed it. But, I stuck with it, I learned a ton from my coaches and teammates, chipped away at my goals everyday, and eventually got way farther than I ever thought possible.
I’m extremely grateful that I learned that in real life because it’s so real in everything else I’ve focused on. This is really all I pay attention to in my life: just keep grinding everyday and you’ll surprise your past self over time.
How did you get into running? Why do you run?
I got into running in high school. I was obsessed with other sports growing up; namely, baseball, soccer, basketball and football. Going into high school, I felt compelled for some reason to drop my previous sports and go to the freshman summer camp for cross country. My older brother was on the team but I knew absolutely nothing about XC. I still remember the first days of summer running- it was magical and I never looked back. I was so clueless, I even wore spiked cross country racing shoes to the first day of practice LOL. That's how I got into the sport, but the only way I was able to stick with it over the years was because of my high school coaches and teammates that kept the experience so special.
What motivates you to keep on running (both, running and Trackster)?
I’m convinced that the opportunity in front of Trackster is massive and very special. I believe I’m onto something game changing and everyday it feels like there’s a million reasons why it’s a worthwhile endeavor to focus on. The sport of distance running is in a great place but there's also so many things that can be improved upon.
On the personal side, I simply love running and being active. In some ways it sounds enticing to be lazy and to just not spend the time or energy running or getting sweaty. The truth is, if I’m totally honest with myself, there’s no denying that my life is exponentially better and I’m much happier if I have some amount of running / training / exercise in my day.
Where is your favorite place to run and work from?
In college some other start-up buddies and I found an empty floor of an old nursing building that was scheduled to be demolished at the end of the year. No one knew about it and we got keys from some maintenance folks on the low. We worked there everyday, often through the middle of the night, and made a ton of great memories. Most of those people are still working on their respective companies - shout out to Pedro at Cariinaand Branick with Aryeo - and have been super supportive of Trackster, too. Nowadays I like working from home and pretty much anywhere remote but those good ol’ days in Cushing Hall stand out as my favorite.
My top favorite runs of all time are: 1. Waterfall Glen in Darien, IL 2. Battle Road, MA 3. Boulder Creek Path, CO
X Marathons (or races), (X users), what is next for you and for Trackster?
The focus for Trackster is growing the revenue streams so that we can take all of the stuff Trackster does to the next level. I feel very good about where the Trackster app is at so now it’s about shifting focus from product development to pushing the gas on financial growth.
What is your ultimate advice for running and running a business?
For example, I feel our competition is way, way too big from an administrative bloat and payroll stand point. If we can stay lean and be super adaptive to make quick changes, I think that will set us apart.
Finally, I’d love to thank Zensah for the opportunity to become sponsors in the Trackster app. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Sarah and everyone on the Zensah team and I’m stoked to see what’s to come!