Learning Pickleball, Tennis or Golf? Sports Startup by Tyler Maloney ’13 Enters the Chat

Tyler Maloney ’13 works to make popular sports more accessible as the founder and chairman of the board at TeachMe.To.

Tyler Maloney ’13 came to NC State as a Park Scholar and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering. He is the founder and Chairman of the Board of teachme.to, and the founder and CEO of Faves, a website to save and organize videos from across the internet.

When considering colleges, Tyler had many great options, but ended up choosing to take the Park Scholarship.

“Being a Park Scholar at NC State gave me the permission to believe in myself, try new things, and explore my passions,” said Tyler. “Through many twists and turns, the Park Scholarships led me to entrepreneurship, which helped me get to where I am today.”

Between his sophomore and junior year, Tyler took a gap year and spent the year working at a wildlife rehab center in South Africa. His experience there inspired him to switch his major to materials science and engineering.

As part of his Senior Design project, he ended up founding a company called Undercover Colors. He was a member of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program (EEP) and started working on an idea that he was passionate about. He and a few others made enough progress on the project that they won eGames, and one the judges ended up investing in the company. Over the next four years, Tyler and his colleagues secured multiple patents and raised $12 million in investments.

Before the EEP experience, Tyler said he was a good student but felt like he was “mostly going through the motions” of receiving his education. Tyler said the EEP brought his education to life because he learned how to apply his knowledge to solve a problem.

“Undercover Colors eventually failed, but the experience taught me a great deal about entrepreneurship and helped me get into Stanford Business School for my MBA,” explained Tyler. “I learned invaluable lessons that I still benefit from today.”

Headshot of tyler Maloney with a white background
Tyler Maloney, Park Scholarships Class of 2014

Since graduating, Tyler has earned an MBA from Stanford, founded three companies and raised over $20 million in investments. Now, as chairman of the board at TeachMe.To, he is expanding access to sports and sports venues for customers, reducing the challenge of sourcing lessons from expert coaches and accessing members-only facilities.

People-Focused Problem-Solving

TeachMe.To not only democratizes traditionally gate-kept sports according to an industry expert, it also helps instructors build their client portfolio. Robert Valdillez ’17, a TeachMe.To coach, NC State alum and current Ph.D. student in nuclear physics at NC State, has less pressure to market his skills to new students. With TeachMe.To funneling clients to Robert, he has more time and resources to give his new and existing customers.

“I love the fact that TeachMe.To is bringing sports education to the general population through their cutting edge technology,” said Valdillez. “Golf and tennis can be exclusive. They are expensive, you need a membership to play, and a lot of important business relationships are formed by playing together. I’m proud that we’re making these sports more accessible to a broader, more diverse community. TeachMe.to provides lessons that are suitable for complete beginners and available at a price point that’s much more affordable than our competitors.”

Two pickleball players with paddle holding their hands in Wolfpack sign
Robert, left, is a TeachMe.To tennis instructor and a member of the Pickleball Club at NC State.

Maloney envisions TeachMe.to becoming the primary place that people go to learn anything new. The company is expanding into new sports, music and the arts.

“I believe in the power of personal growth and I find a great deal of satisfaction in learning new things,” said Maloney. “I’m happiest when I’m chasing a goal or picking up a new skill. Unfortunately, learning new things can be intimidating and it’s often hard to know where to get started. TeachMe.to is important because it makes getting started easy. If we’re successful, we’ll make it 10x easier to pick up a new hobby or learn something new.”

Reflecting on his choice to attend NC State with the Park Scholarship, Tyler is grateful for his experience. At NC State, Tyler had the support he needed to open new doors and make bold choices. As he explored the intersection of engineering and entrepreneurship, he challenged himself to take risks and pursue the less traditional career path of an entrepreneur.

“If the Park donors had not supported my scholarship, my life would be very different today,” said Maloney. “I’m grateful for their generosity and believe deeply that it’s important to support the next generation of scholars.”

His advice to those scholars?

Get started. Entrepreneurship is like playing poker. You may not win every hand, but if you play long enough you can tip the scales in your favor.