Mojo Gets an $8M Boost to Make Youth Sports Coaching Easier on Parents

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Mojo Gets an $8M Boost to Make Youth Sports Coaching Easier on Parents

Ben Sherwood, the former Walt Disney Co. executive and L.A. native, spent 12 years coaching his kids' sports teams. The same question followed him year after year: how do you lead a good practice?

"You have one minute after you get off your last work call to walk onto a field with eight or 10 kids," said Sherwood, who stepped down from his position as president of Disney-ABC TV Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks in March 2019. "What are you going to do? No matter what your level, every mom and dad knows you need good ideas."

His new app Mojo, which launched Tuesday, offers custom training schedules for youth soccer coaches pressed for time. He hopes the platform will help the 500 million kids playing organized sports get back on the field as practices and games pick back up.

"In Southern California and in Los Angeles in particular, sports have been shut down harder and longer than in most places," Sherwood said. "We want to be there for whenever spring soccer begins, wherever you live."

Last February, the startup raised an $8 million Series A round from investors including L.A.-based Tom Werner, owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, and U.S. women's national soccer team players Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain. The company is also backed by dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff.

mojo coaching app

After a coach enters details about their players like skill level and age, Mojo generates a list of tutorials and activities. And even if "your kids only want to climb the tree in the park," Sherwood said, the app can still help.

"Youth sports is chaos," said co-founder and chief operating officer Reed Shaffner, who's worked at Microsoft, Scopely and the game developer Zynga. "You might have the best plan and then everything goes by the wayside because it's little kids."

He and Sherwood worked with child psychologists and youth coaches to build out the app's functions, many of which are free. They also worked with Mandalay Sports Media — producers of the Michael Jordan documentary "The Last Dance" — to shoot tutorials at the Banc of California Stadium.

In following the startup's mission of "leveling the playing field" for kids interested in sports, Sherwood said, Mojo Inc. will offer premium subscriptions to volunteer coaches with Coaching Corps. And as the platform catches on, the startup will add more sports.

"I do have a dream list," Sherwood said. "I would say tackle football is not on the list. I would say that just about everything else is."

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Snap Mandates Employees Work From the Office Four Days a Week

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
Snap logo and hq
Photo by rblfmr/ Shutterstock

Snap is the latest major tech company to bring the hammer down on remote work: CEO Evan Spiegel told employees this week that they will be expected to work from the office 80% of the time starting in February.

Per the announcement, the Santa Monica-based company’s full-time workers will be required to work from the office four or more days per week, though off-site client meetings would count towards their in-office time. This policy, which Spiegel dubbed “default together,” applies to employees in all 30 of the company's global offices, and the company is working on an exceptions process for those that wish to continue working remotely. Snap’s abrupt change follows other major tech firms, including Apple, which began its hybrid policy requiring employees to be in the office at least three days per week in September, and Twitter, which axed remote work completely after Elon Musk’s takeover (though he did temporarily close offices amid a slew of resignations in mid-November).

Read moreShow less