In 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced its policy change allowing college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness. However, with this new policy, many athletes often struggle with the finer details. For this reason, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi set up shop and founded their company, Athlete’s Thread, to help athletes make the most of the new policy, monetize their brand, make meaningful collaborations, and advance their careers.
A dynamic duo taking giant strides in the entrepreneurial space, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi are the brilliant creators of Greek House. This platform has made a name for itself as the go-to shop for custom college apparel. Established in 2013, the company has revolutionized the custom merchandising space, making the process of ordering custom apparel hassle-free and even expanding its services to over 500 colleges.
After their first business venture saw massive success, Luke and Karthik launched College Thread and accommodated all student organizations and college departments. On their third venture, they established Threadly, which expanded beyond the college market to organizations such as businesses, 5k’s, creators, and churches.
After reviewing the NCAA policy, the brilliant entrepreneurs realized that, generally, brands only work with the star athletes of each school. To give every athlete an equal chance of profiting off their brands regardless of gender or social following, McGurrin and Shanadi founded Athlete’s Thread.
“The best part about this is helping tell the unique story of every student-athlete,” McGurrin shared. “We believe that if you’re a student-athlete, even if ESPN isn’t telling your story, you’re already a hometown hero and have a huge community behind you that would love to support you. So we want to help all of these students realize how much they have accomplished and be the driving force to get their story out and help them be successful,” he added.
With a business model aimed at bridging the gap in collegiate sports, Athlete’s Thread gives every student-athlete a platform to launch their businesses and make money from their name, image, and likeness by giving them full access to licensed designs that can help start them selling personalized merch on online stores.
On top of its hassle-free process, the Athlete’s Thread platform can launch every student-athlete in less than three days of signing on. As a result of its efficiency and utility, the platform now boasts over 2,000 athletes from 12 colleges, with 58 colleges more coming. Some of Athletes Thread’s impressive athlete list includes Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and break-out athletes Jahmyr Gibbs, Jalen Milroe, and Trashon Holden from the University of Alabama.
“Our mindset working with all these athletes, the colleges and the athletic directors are to help them tell their story, but also make sure we are helping them be successful both on and off the field,” Shanadi shared.
In the coming years, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi aim to scale Athlete’s Thread massively, expand to include 8,000 more athletes before the end of the year, and take over significant market share.
“We want to expand well beyond merchandise and apparel, including posters, coffee mugs, stickers and water bottles. Our goal is to become a leader in the Sports Merchandise Industry. We are starting with licensed merchandise for college athletes, then expanding into collegiate retail merchandise and professional sports after,” Shanadi envisioned.