Asked to describe an accomplishment he’s proud of, entrepreneur Michael Sharf doesn’t mention that he holds Cal’s single-season scoring record in water polo or that he represented the U.S. in over 50 international competitions as a member of the USA Water Polo team in 2010–11.
Instead, Sharf, the 30-year-old CEO of BridgeAthletic, a company that builds performance-training software, cites the 2015 rollout of the BridgeAthletic platform to the UC Berkeley athletics department. “We were basically delivering a product to the place of its inception,” says Sharf, who had the vision for BridgeAthletic while he was a Haas undergraduate, juggling a robust course load with over 30 hours a week of sports training. He co-founded the company in 2011 with Nick Folker, an acclaimed strength and conditioning coach at Cal.
Thousands of elite athletes and coaches now use BridgeAthletic’s technology platform to design, deliver, and monitor athletes’ training plans. Clients include elite customers like the U.S. Olympic training center, pro teams like the Oakland Raiders, and a number of Pac-12 athletic departments, including UC Berkeley. Bridge also works with thousands of youth-sports athletes around the world.
Sharf worked as a financial analyst in investment management at Goldman Sachs after receiving his undergraduate degree at Berkeley Haas, then focused on entrepreneurship while an MBA student at Stanford. “I think it’s incredibly important to always challenge yourself to expand as a person,” he says.
Sharf anticipates launching multiple companies throughout his career and eventually transitioning into being an investor. But for now, he’s pacing himself for a long and fruitful run with BridgeAthletic. “People always ask, are we going to try to go public or sell,” he says. “We’re focused on building a great company. If we have a great company, we have myriad appealing options.” —AS
Co-Founder and CEO, BridgeAthletic