Much has changed in middle school and high school sports over the years, but the inefficient system of collecting checks from parents for team merchandise has persisted through generations. Kent McKeaigg has found a way to bring order to that process. His e-commerce company, OrderMyGear, has served more than five million parents, athletes, and fans.
McKeaigg was inspired by his father, Ronnie, who worked for more than 35 years as a sporting goods distributor in Oklahoma. “He would avoid group orders paid individually because they’d take so much time,” McKeaigg says. “I once saw him have more than $13,000 in order forms from parents stacked on his desk, and I remember thinking, ‘Man, there’s got to be a better way.’”
In 2008, McKeaigg enlisted James Skidmore, then an undergrad at Texas A&M University, to code the first few versions of OrderMyGear. Soon, word spread within the network of sports apparel distributors McKeaigg’s father was a part of. “A guy who covered Tulsa had heard of us, and told us about a $60,000 order that typically took him a month to do,” McKeaigg says. “We had two months to build [the platform], and it worked out.”
Success at a trade show for custom apparel distributors led to more business, and things snowballed from there. Because orders are fulfilled after customers have paid, the online stores can offer a wider variety of products.
“People are generally really passionate about these small groups,” McKeaigg says. If you have a kid who’s a swimmer at Lake Highlands, the odds of you buying a ‘Lake Highlands Swimming’ polo are a lot higher than something that says ‘Lake Highlands Athletics.’”
OrderMyGear was already profitable when it was awarded its first seed round of funding $560,000 in 2014, which is when Skidmore, who had taken time off to finish college, returned to the company as COO. After generating more than $13 million last year, OrderMyGear raised $35 million from Susquehanna Growth Equity this past April. It also leased space in the newly anointed East Quarter district of downtown Dallas, more than tripling the size of its headquarters.
McKeaigg credits the startup community in Dallas for much of OrderMyGear’s recent success. “With the DEC and the REVTECH accelerator, we got a lot more publicity than we would have received in Austin or San Francisco,” McKeaigg says. “A lot of venture capital and growth equity firms are looking at Dallas. They’re not looking for the unicorn, billion-dollar exit. They’re looking for people who have grown companies in a fiscally responsible way.”