Startup develops storytelling platform for college athletes


The Unscripted Athlete is an in-development content management system, or CMS, for college athletes to tell their stories. Photo via

A startup is developing a web-based platform for college athletes to provide a first-person look into their lives.

Start Garden, the $15-million early stage venture capital fund in Grand Rapids, said this month that it will make an initial investment in The Unscripted Athlete, an in-development content management system, or CMS.

The Unscripted Athlete

The Unscripted Athlete would allow college football players and other athletes to post stories about their lives with the CMS, to share their insights and perspectives with fans.

Stories created by the athletes would be available through mobile devices for users to read the first-person content for free.

Brian Linthicum, a former college football player and founder of The Unscripted Athlete, said college athletes have fewer media obligations than pro athletes, which makes it harder for fans to gain insight into their lives, both on and off the field.

“One thing that I went through as a college football player was always looking for the media to get out whatever message I wanted to send,” Linthicum said. “The whole point behind it is to give college athletes a voice, something for them to speak directly to fans.”

As the platform launches, Linthicum plans on reaching out to athletes he knows and then targeting other players who are interested in writing meaningful content.

“Out of the gate, I am interested in the guys who just want to post, and it is a value for them, because it gives them a voice, a platform to go to,” Linthicum said. “Initially, targeting players who are more interested in teaching their fans and teaching younger people what it is like to be in their shoes.”

Next steps

The Unscripted Athlete will use the Start Garden funds toward finalizing development of the CMS.

Linthicum said the Start Garden backing “definitely allows us to accelerate what we are already doing.”

“On the development side, it obviously helps a lot, because we can accelerate the process and start generating content.”

Linthicum also plans to recruit a managing editor to work with the athletes during the editorial process and an individual who is familiar with communications.

The Unscripted Athlete will return to a monthly Start Garden Update Night event after a few months to present on its progress to be considered for further funding.

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