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2013 Award Winner: Hudl
University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken has announced that the 2013 winner of the Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award is Hudl, a Lincoln-based company that provides video analysis tools to college, high school and professional sports teams. The company serves more than 11,000 high schools, 2,000 youth teams, 800 colleges, 10 NFL teams, eight NHL teams and one NBA team.
Hudl was founded by John Wirtz, Brian Kaiser and David Graff, all three of whom graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. The students participated in the Raikes School’s “Design Studio” program, where students apply their software and business skills to solve a real-world problem. Through the program, the students realized that the sharing of videos of athletic practices and games could be a valuable training tool for sports teams – and the idea for Hudl was born.
Today Hudl employs about 80 people, most of whom are UNL graduates. Five to 10 UNL students intern at Hudl each year and many are hired as full-time employees when they graduate. Hudl employees speak to classes at the university and are involved in advising aspiring entrepreneurs, judging entrepreneurship competitions and serving on UNL alumni boards – serving as role models to students who dream of starting their own company someday.
Hudl intends to use its award money to support its ongoing partnership with the university, perhaps by expanding internship opportunities or sponsoring Design Studio projects at the Raikes School.
“Hudl is one of the most exciting success stories of student entrepreneurship in recent memory,” Milliken said. “These students – combining their creativity and drive, University of Nebraska education, and entrepreneurial spirit – identified a solution to a real-world challenge and brought it to the marketplace. The response has been tremendous. I could not be more proud of their success – or more appreciative of their continued partnership with the University of Nebraska. The community leadership, mentorship and engagement demonstrated by Hudl employees means we’ll be celebrating more success stories like theirs in the future – a great thing for Nebraska’s innovation economy.”