Dallas native Arlan Hamilton, who is well-known in the VC community for her investments in underrepresented entrepreneurs, has made a $100,000 investment in a rising local startup, The Equalizer Games LLC.
The funding—made by Hamilton’s ArlanWasHere Investments—will go toward The Quarterback Equalizer, a state-of-the-art virtual training game for quarterbacks and coaches. It was created by John Tomlinson, the co-founder of Equalizer Games and a former NFL coach.
“I grew up in Dallas, so I know how important school sports are to Texans,” Hamilton, who is also the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, said in a statement. “It’s a great place for a product like this to be born and nurtured. I’m interested to see what Equalizer Games can do to boost the skills and morale of students around the country.”
The announcement comes at a time when Tomlinson’s startup is proving more essential than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most businesses to shut down or enforce social distancing measures to ensure safety—and the same has gone for sports teams. Tomlinson describes his app as an e-learning platform that uses gamification to solidify the user’s understanding of their position.
The Quarterback Equalizer provides football training that helps quarterbacks improve their ability to read defensive coverages, make quicker game-winning decisions, refine passing accuracy, and execute offense faster and more successfully.
The $100,000 from ArlanWasHere Investments will allow Tomlinson to further develop the concept for global consumption, according to Equalizer Games. Currently, The Quarterback Equalizer is being used by offensive coordinators and coaches in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Maryland, among other states.
From here, Tomlinson plans to build a full suite of mobile and online cognitive games to accelerate how student athletes learn. That includes making them more productive, safer, and more prepared before the season even begins.
Hamilton is bullish on the startup’s future success.
She’s seen how much football has positively impacted the lives of her nephews—and hopefully nieces one day, she says—and can see Equalizer giving both coaches and athletes “a certain edge.” The app will also be able to teach soft skills: manners, sportsmanship, and critical thinking.
“We provide a Virtual Coach in the platform that takes the player in a classroom and teaches the user how to identify defensive pass coverages and how to attack the defense,” Tomlinson said in a statement. “We then take what the user learns in the classroom and track their performance in an interactive game. We work to train the eyes and understand defensive movement-building eye discipline.”
Though he’s now an entrepreneur, Tomlinson is no stranger to the game.
He began his coaching career in 1994 at Cardinal Gibbons High School in North Carolina, but has since made his way through every level of football. In 2010, he began an internship with the Indianapolis Colts, then in 2017 served the Cleveland Browns as an Assistant QB Coach and Quality Control Coach.
Per Equalizer Games, he has also served on state championship coaching staffs, building formidable teams at Pop Warner, high school, collegiate, and professional teams from the east coast to the southwest.
He’s even authored a book on the sport called 4th & Inches: A Football Coach’s Season Devotional.
Equalizer Games was born in 2015 to cognitively teach players individualized positions through a mobile and online gaming app.
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