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Along with his entrepreneurial spirit and gift for explanation — he received thumbs-ups from the panel on Fox Business Network’s “Elevator Pitch” — Kratsios is driven by his love for golf.A neighbor invited him to play when he was 12 and he hit his first tee shot, on the Harbor Links Executive Course, on the green.
They had to go to the course, pay their money and get teamed up with two total strangers to compose a foursome that courses usually require.
“They thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever,” he said.
Not long after that, he thought of an idea that would change his life, and possibly alter golf’s landscape.
His business began two years ago, when he was on the verge of a promotion in his first job out of Gettysburg College (where he played on the golf team).
“I had to make a decision to turn down the promotion, quit my job and focus on Golf Match full time,” he said, “much to my parents’ chagrin.” The venture had a bumpy start until he met a couple of potential big investors at the Masters: Gary Hendrickson, the CEO of Valspar, and Bob Mc Carthy, former chief operating officer of Marriott International.
Kratsios’ former boss at the job he quit also got behind the project. The company gets a share from each digital tee time that is booked.
Plus, the more members it attracts, the better Golf Match’s chances of gaining backing from the sport’s major brands.
A recent college graduate who worked in digital advertising for 24/7 Real Media, Kratsios designed an app he called Golf Match, which puts people together with golfers they might like to play with.
Beginners can play with beginners, seniors can play with seniors, women can play with women if they prefer.
It is definitely not a golf dating site, but it uses basically the same format. It has blossomed into a national online community with 30,000 members who share their experiences and form their own groups and tournaments.
“What we have found out is that golfers are the most social beings in the world,” said the 27-year-old who still lives in Manhasset, plays at Plandome Country Club and holds a solid handicap index of 0.4.