The athletic trainer

Kevin Dawidowicz.

Dawidowicz outside First Niagara Center, home to his first CoachMePlus client, the Buffalo Sabres.

Kevin Dawidowicz, CEL ’11, has always loved fitness and grew up brainstorming business ideas around the dinner table.

His latest venture, software company CoachMePlus, brings these loves together.

CoachMePlus tracks all aspects of an athlete's performance and body metrics—such as heart rate, hydration, energy exertion and more—by syncing with other devices and integrating data recorded manually by the athlete. Through the system, coaches can customize training programs and manage workflow.

More than 20,000 athletes are monitored through CoachMePlus, including pro football, baseball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as Olympic athletes and 20 university athletic programs or teams.

Help from the CEL

"CoachMePlus would not exist without the CEL Core program," says Dawidowicz, who completed the program in 2011. "Entrepreneurs are scatterbrained by nature. We have a ton of ideas and want to do them all right now. At one point, I was juggling three businesses and was going to put CoachMePlus on the shelf. Through weeks of ongoing practice and working with mentors, we developed a plan that allowed me to focus on this one exclusively."

Launching the company

With the Buffalo Sabres as their first paying customer, Dawidowicz and co-founder Stephen Ostrow went to the NHL Combine and cold pitched coaches they met. The plan worked, and both Edmonton and Columbus came on board.

"We had three coaches, with three drastically different views, giving us feedback as we were building a tool that would solve issues for multiple athletes," Dawidowicz says. "We've developed our system the same way since then, by listening to our customers and fine-tuning it to their needs."

A fulfilling career

CoachMePlus completed a $1 million funding round in 2014, and Dawidowicz routinely receives positive feedback from athletes or teams that use his system. Earlier this month, the company won another $250,000 as a finalist in the 43North business plan competition.

"Last year, we had three unrestricted free agents join one NFL team because they were monitored daily and managed through our system," he says. "Another NFL team told me that we save every coach at least an hour a day. Those are the rewarding parts, when I know we're actually helping somebody."

Written by Matthew Biddle, this story originally appeared as part of the cover feature in the autumn 2015 issue of Buffalo Business.