It all started with a flood, as many things do. Paul Zukauskas received word that a burst pipe in the basement of this Cape Cod house destroyed the videotape and digital archives of his illustrious, athletic high school, college, and NFL careers. In one moment, his legacy was gone – to him, his teammates, his family, and his fans. After endless searching, Paul realized that this content didn’t live online either. But it did exist, somewhere across disconnected and separate archives with neither access nor ways to find it.
Meanwhile, Rob Ciampa had recently wrapped up five years building the Boston-based company Pixability into the world’s most powerful digital video analytics and audience development platform. After working extensively with YouTube, Facebook, major brands, and agencies, he shifted focus and began research on the more in-depth application of data to such things as video. As a die-hard sports fan, he knew that video – and in particular sports video – was ripe for better integration with data.
About that time, Paul reached out to Steve Akers, a local entrepreneur and the parent of a player Paul had coached, to inquire about someone who knew video. Steve had worked with Rob previously and kept in touch over the years. Paul, Rob, and Ryan Utzler, a teammate of Paul’s at Boston College, met for breakfast in 2016 at the Owl Diner in Lowell, Massachusetts. With a shared passion for sports, both Paul and Rob immediately knew that once you untapped the massive catalog of game video and combined it with sports data, you could bring those cherished documented moments back to life for everyone: athletes, teammates, families, fans, and more.
Paul and Rob began working nights and weekend on their idea, forming WePlayed in late 2017. Pete Martin, one of the top video platform architects in the industry, jumped in to help right from the beginning. He had worked side-by-side with Rob at Pixability for several years. Terry Denson, an expert on sports video content and distribution, who knew Paul, came aboard as well, rounding out a team that keeps the sports experience going long after the game ends.