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Jaguars linebacker Najee Goode brings fans closer to the action through VEEPIO

Through cutting-edge technology, Najee Goode is helping fans get closer to the action than ever before

While the Jacksonville Jaguars placed Najee Goode on the team’s reserve/injured list a couple of weeks ago, he will have a lasting effect with the team off the field through his company, VEEPIO.

VEEPIO is a technology company which aims to make all media interactive. Integrating with with nearly any application on Android or iOS devices, VEEPIO works to create a better experience for the user.

Essentially, by using this technology, fans can view an image or video within a team’s application, tap on the image or video, and get more information on the subject or item without ever leaving the app itself.

While football does come first, Goode believes it’s important for players to get involved in activities away from the game.

“While we [are] playing I think it’s huge because that’s when we have the most eyeballs on us,” Goode told Big Cat Country in November.

“And that’s what guys need to understand and know. That people from way across the country that see the logo, just because they like Jaguars, they have an impact on us. And It’s important that guys understand that value. Just like the alumni guys, being able to create something for them, they still have value that people want to see.”

Due to his responsibilities with the company and football, at times it is tough to manage during the offseason, Goode says.

“I’m still not the best with timing and I still procrastinate,” Goode said. “It’s made me get better because some of the guys that we work with.”

During the season, Goode is locked into his craft on the gridiron. His team at VEEPIO understand his priorities, and handle travel and meetings themselves.

Majoring in industrial and mechanical engineering while at West Virginia, the former Mountaineer has been interested in technology for a long time and with a curiosity for art, Goode designed the company’s initial logo.

Currently, VEEPIO has partnered with the Philadelphia Eagles, who Goode played for from 2013-2017. The team has ownership interest in the company, along with the Denver Broncos who are a client for the company.

The Jaguars and VEEPIO reached a contract agreement in November to become partners, Jonathan Ohliger, the company’s CEO, told Big Cat Country shortly after the deal was reached.

“We are in the process of integrating right now so that’s gonna be super exciting so everyone in Jacksonville is gonna be able to experience that technology inside the Jags app soon,” Ohliger said.

Ohliger, who used to build high-frequency trading systems, says that perhaps the best use for the technology has yet to come. But, as someone who has always been obsessed with information, is determined to figured it out.

“So that’s what’s so exciting about the Jags — the organization is really willing to push the envelope and take things to the next level and we couldn’t be more excited to do it with them as partners.”

There are seemingly endless possibilities with the technology. For example while viewing a press conference that head coach Doug Marrone is conducing, fans will be able to interact with the video to gain more information.

“You’ll be able to look at different stories while he’s talking without interrupting his speech to get deeper insights on the play he’s referring to, or a call that the referees made or did not make. So there’s more depth for fans if they want more information.”

Most of Goode’s teammates have bought into the idea, and even a couple of notable Jaguars players have invested in the company itself.

“They love it because as players there’s a lot of player-driven things that are going on,” Goode explained of his teammates buying in.

The company allows the owners and players to join the same platform. A coordinated effort which creates a relationship that is desperately needed in today’s NFL.

The genesis of the company, as told by Ohliger, began organically. Ohliger and Wiley were watching TV shows and wanted to buy one of the shirts someone was wearing, but couldn’t. This sparked the idea for VEEPIO, which will allow users to do just that.

Goode, who was a member of the Eagles at the time, but injured, was approached by Wiley on the sideline of a West Virginia football game. The two began to talk about life after football, which ultimately led to the company’s foundation.

The minds behind VEEPIO, left to right: Jonathan Ohliger, Najee Goode and Grant Wiley.
WVU Today

The two — Wiley and Goode — decided to meet Ohliger at the New York City office to discuss their new venture. In the early stages of figuring out how the system would work, Goode asked if it was fine for another person to listen in on their conversation, to which Ohliger and Wiley would ultimately oblige.

“We didn’t know who it was — Najee did,” Ohliger explained. “But it happened to be Demeco Ryans, the coach of the 49ers,” at the time Ryans was a teammate of Goode’s in Philadelphia.

“Demeco interrupted us halfway through our conversation and said ‘I love it, I want you guys to get started right away’. And that is the genesis of VEEPIO.”

The three then got started on brainstorming to figure out how to correctly implement the technology.

They all had one thing in common — football. Wiley is a hall of fame linebacker at West Virginia, and played two years in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Ohliger is a former kicker at West Virginia who played Arena football for a couple of years, and Goode, of course, currently plays linebacker for the Jaguars.

The idea of spending 20 years doing something and it not being relevant later down the line did not sit well with them.

The results, thus far, have been rewarding. As Ohliger explained, during their test run with the Eagles in 2017 they found that anybody that looked at a picture with their technology looked at the image for six seconds or longer on average. A video — 30 seconds or longer on average.

Goode describes the technology as more of a “pull than a push” — rather than being interrupted with a pop-up ad, the implementation allows the end users to stay in the ecosystem, no longer frustrated or having to find their way back to the initial product.

Through VEEPIO, Goode has also been able to work with the NFL Alumni — something he is equally as excited about.

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame-Enshrinement Ceremony Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Goode’s father, John Goode, played football for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1984-85 — making the two the first father-son duo in Eagles history. Family ties in the NFL are special, and gave the former Mountaineer a reason to want to do something more.

Working in conjunction with Beasley Reece (NFL Alumni CEO), Goode, VEEPIO, and Inspired Entertainment, a global games technology company, collaborated with a unique idea to give the fans a special virtual game which will benefit the NFL Alumni and, as Goode says, “take care of our own.”

Able to watch their favorite NFL Alumni players — such as Terry Bradshaw or Dan Marino —, virtually, fans will be able to simply bet on the outcome, Goode says.

“Virtual gaming is huge because it gives fans another alternative to watch the game.”

As Goode explains it, you can watch the game from a bar and bet on the outcome, proposition bets, and straight bets included. The money earned is going to directly benefit the NFL Alumni.

“Those guys [gave] their blood, sweat and tears but they don’t get the benefit from the things that we get so it’s gonna go back” Goode says.

Not only has Goode partnered with a current NFL franchise, something that is unprecedented, but he’s also found — with Inspired and some of his teammates — a way to work with those who came before him to better their lives, something the NFL linebacker feels is important.

Ohliger has been around football his entire life, his high school coach was former Eagles legend Bill Bergey, so this hits home for him as well.

“It means a lot to us because we know we have the answers to help them and we’re gonna do everything we can to put them int he best possible place,” said Ohliger. “There are a lot of people who care about the NFL alumni. They connected, whether they were in college or whether they were in the pros.”

According to Ohliger, the NFL Alumni will be the team’s fourth client with the app ready in spring of 2020.

Ultimately, Goode is excited about the companies future. “I firmly believe that how the world is evolving with technology,” Goode says. “Not to say that people want things immediately, but people want to understand and know what they’re looking at.

Expanding beyond simply sports, Goode sees the technology evolving into something anyone can use. Whether it be to fact checking politicians on the fly, or to buy clothes or food, there are infinite possibilities.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to be the biggest technology company in the world.”

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