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Departing Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith signs up as CoachUp director

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 20, 2013 10:13 AM

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CoachUp founder Jordan Fliegel has been on a pretty hot signing streak when it comes to adding advisors and directors. Ex-U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Boston Bruins president Cam Neely are already involved with the Boston startup, which helps connect aspiring athletes with private coaches. And now Fliegel has persuaded Scott Griffith, the long-time Zipcar CEO, to join his board. (Zipcar went public before being acquired by Avis back in January.)

"There's a real mission orientation to this business, which is part of what attracted me," says Griffith, adding that he has been meeting with five or six companies a week as he starts to craft his post-Zipcar life. "Also, I have a 14-year old son who plays soccer, basketball, and baseball, so I understand the marketplace CoachUp is trying to create. Coaching right now is a cottage industry. There are concerns about safety, and competence, and who these people are, and that's what they're addressing." The site offers detailed profiles and reviews of each coach, and covers the lesson packages it sells with a $100,000 liability insurance policy. Fliegel says that over 7000 coaches are offering lessons through the site, and that California is the company's biggest market, followed by states like Texas, Florida, New York, and Georgia. The company has 15 employees, and has been hiring quickly. CoachUp launched last May, and was part of the TechStars Boston fall class in 2012.

Griffith tells me that his post-Zipcar plan isn't simply to jump on a bunch of startup boards and do some angel investing. "I've got another run with a company in me here," he says. But he's also interested in playing a role in the startup scene. "One thing I'm focused on is what can I do to make a more robust ecosystem here in Boston. We've come a good distance, but there's still lots of work that can be done."

Also advising CoachUp are Sheila Marcelo, CEO of Care.com, and Jumptap's chief product officer, Adam Soroca. "I look at Airbnb and Care.com and Zipcar as models," says Fliegel. "We want to be the next great consumer company in the U.S. We're going big."

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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