Stealthy Rec Unveiled: Revolutionizing Booking and Management of Parks & Rec Facilities

Rec, a new startup aiming to improve the local recreation experience, launched out of stealth today. The platform’s offerings cater to four groups: residents, community organizers, coaches, and city staff. Meanwhile, Parks and Rec departments gain access to booking, workforce management, and marketing tools. In almost every partnership, launching Rec has resulted in both incremental participation from residents and incremental revenue for the Parks Department,” Rec explains. “Our current focus is to build Rec hand in hand with Parks & Rec departments to give them the tools needed to give residents a reimagined recreation experience.

Park and recreation organizations play a vital role in fostering thriving communities. However, many of these organizations are hindered by outdated systems, which create added stress for residents when it comes to program registration. This not only creates a negative experience for the community, but it may also result in lost revenue for cities.

Introducing Rec, a revolutionary startup that aims to transform the local recreation experience. Launching out of stealth today, Rec offers a wide range of services and features that cater to four distinct groups: residents, community organizers, coaches, and city staff.

For residents, Rec provides an easy-to-use platform where they can discover available reservation slots, book lessons, and stay informed about upcoming events in their area. Instructors can choose to run group clinics or private classes, giving them the flexibility to tailor their services to the needs of the community. Meanwhile, Parks and Recreation departments gain access to streamlined booking, workforce management, and marketing tools. Additionally, cities have a dashboard at their disposal, providing valuable insights such as usage rates and resource availability.

Rec was co-founded in 2022 by Birju Kadakia and Rachel Williams, both former UberEats employees. Frustrated with their own experiences with local recreation, the pair set out to create a solution that would enhance the overall experience for residents.

“Both of us grew up playing and competing in sports, but neither of us had access to private clubs or expensive training. Our experience relied solely on the local rec center and the eagerly awaited activity guide that arrived every few months,” Williams shares with TechCrunch. “Despite being a part of previous companies that have revolutionized everyday life, we were surprised to find that the local recreation experience, even in 2024, is still centered around the same activity guide.”

While there are several companies that offer recreation management software, such as ActiveNet, Omnify, CommunityPass, and RecDesk, Rec prides itself as the only platform that handles booking, management, coaching lessons, and community engagement in one convenient place.

“Cities are currently using clunky and outdated recreation management tools, and we believe that both the Parks and Recreation staff and their residents deserve a better experience,” Kadakia explains.

One city that has already experienced the benefits of using Rec is Torrance, whose recreation manager, Garrett Craig, shared his thoughts on the platform.

“My team spends painstaking hours ensuring every citizen has access to fitness and activity in our city. The Rec platform is unlike anything we’ve had before,” Craig said in a statement. “It has given my staff a set of superpowers – clearly designed to support them in their mission to build stronger, healthier communities.”

Currently, Rec’s services are available to users in eight California cities, including Torrance, Rocklin, Emeryville, and Santa Cruz County. The startup plans to expand to eight more cities in the upcoming months, but has not disclosed which cities specifically.

Pickleball and tennis court programs have been a major driving force behind Rec’s growth, with over 4,000 active users and 100 pickleball instructors in California alone. With an estimated 48.3 million pickleball players in the United States, parks and recreation centers are struggling to keep up with the demands for reservations.

When it comes to Rec’s business model, the company charges a booking fee to Parks and Recreation departments, but the exact amount is not disclosed. However, Rec assures that their fee is comparable or even lower than other companies in the space. In addition, most partnerships have resulted in both increased resident participation and revenue for the department.

Backed by NFX, Precursor Ventures, Long Journey Ventures, and angel investors from Uber, Google, The Athletic, and more, Rec has raised a total of $6.2 million to date. This includes a $2.2 million pre-seed round in December 2022 and a $4 million seed round a year later. The company plans to use these funds to expand their 10-person team in engineering, design, sales, and marketing. They also have plans to develop new features and extend their offerings to include programs in schools, churches, and apartment complexes.

“Our current focus is to work closely with Parks and Recreation departments to provide them with the tools they need to offer a reimagined recreation experience for residents. Looking towards the future, we envision a world where access to local recreation, playing sports, and being active in your community is incredibly simple,” Kadakia concludes.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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