How a father and son team built a successful nationwide franchise of trampoline-based recreation centers
Sky Zone's co-CEO Jeff Platt started a franchise of trampoline courts with his father.
As applications for the 2011 Inc. 500 | 5000 arrive, we thought it would be worthwhile to shine a spotlight on some of the companies that are vying to appear on our ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. (For more information and to apply, go to http://www.inc.com/inc5000apply/2011/index.html). One that caught our eye was Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, a franchise of all-trampoline, walled playing courts based in Las Vegas.
Rick and Jeff Platt, a father and son entrepreneurial duo from Los Angeles, were really excited about the idea of creating a new professional sport. "Back in 2002, my father and I met an individual who originally came up with the concept to start a new professional team sport, and this sport was going to be played on a new type of playing surface. That playing surface was to be made up of hyper-resilient trampolines," explained Jeff. But after receiving $2.5 million in investments from family and friends, building the all-trampoline playing court they called Sky Zone, and training athletes for nearly two years, the Platt's could not get the new sport to catch on.
One thing that did catch on was the neighborhood kids begging to play on the trampolines. "There were kids constantly coming to the facility, and they would beg us to let them jump around for a couple of hours before we would have our athletes train," says Jeff. "And one day we said, "Why don't we start charging admission?"
In June of 2004, Sky Zone the sport morphed into Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. The duo went on to open a second location in St. Louis in 2006, and a third location in Sacramento in 2008. In the beginning of 2009, Sky Zone also became a franchise operation with venues in Columbus, Ohio, Minneapolis, and Boston. "We are in the process of building out four additional locations and we intend to, by the end of the year, have 15 operating locations," says Jeff, who shares the role of CEO with his father. "What we're looking to do is redefine location-based entertainment. Our plan is to take this nationwide and put a location in every major city across this country and then take the concept international."
In 2010, Sky Zone reported $3 million in revenue up from $500,000 in 2007, amounting to 500 percent growth over that period. Jeff projects total revenue for 2011 will reach nearly $12 million.
"You don't meet too many people who don't enjoy jumping on a trampoline. Kids love it, adults love it. Everyone likes being free from earth's gravity," says Platt.