This summer, when Major League Baseball was preparing for its second Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, Pradyumna Dahal (’25 computer science, mathematics) also was hard at work on a baseball dream. One in which every youth baseball team in Iowa — and beyond — can access affordable and easy-to-use sports analytics.
Dahal, along with business partner and fellow Iowa State student Henry Shires (’25 computer engineering), spent the summer in CYstarters, an 11-week immersive summer entrepreneurial experience offered through the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.
The pair worked on growing and improving their business Casmium, which provides sports analytics for youth and high school teams.
“We see analytics being used to improve pro athletes, and coaches want to do that at the younger levels, but they simply don’t have the resources to do so,” Dahal said.
Casmium’s first inning
Casmium started when Dahal and Shires were juniors at Valley High School in West Des Moines. In 2020, Valley’s varsity baseball coach asked the school’s computer science teacher for some student help. The baseball team wanted to switch from using pencil and paper statistics to a more convenient and organized digital method.
Dahal and Shires took on the challenge with a team — and hit a home run. They realized that if Valley needed this service, other teams might, too. What started as a school project to help Valley is now a limited liability company with five co-founders, a website, an App Store app, and great potential to grow into other sports and geographic markets beyond Iowa.
This summer, CYstarters helped Dahal strengthen his knowledge and skills in communication, marketing, problem-solving, customer service and time management. Casmium has started implementing new strategies, including time blocking and a scrum board, a visual method to organize important needs.
“One of the things I hear is ‘under promise and over deliver,'” Dahal said. “I’m trying to follow that mindset.”
Dahal said Iowa State’s entrepreneurial programs provided him with the real-world experiences that traditional classroom learning sometimes lacks.
“Through CYstarters, the biggest thing has been having a wide array of mentors that each have their own expertise,” he said. “Each time we talk to a mentor, we unlock a part of the thought process we never thought about before. It’s opening that mindset we never had when we were just building a product and going on to the next problem.”
After only a year at Iowa State, Dahal already describes the entrepreneurial resources as “phenomenal.” He and Shires even placed first as freshmen during the Pappajohn Center’s Fall Startup Pitch Competition in 2021.
“When I came to Iowa State, I didn’t expect there to be so many resources,” he said. “I thought it would just be like dipping my toes, but there’s so much out there that they can help you do to advance whatever you’re doing.”
It’s still early innings for Casmium. Their next steps include looking at fall baseball teams and out-of-state teams that play spring baseball, developing new tools using artificial intelligence — and hopefully helping more teams access affordable and simple analytics.
“Then when summer comes around again, we’ll be reaching out to as many teams as we can in Iowa to get the app in their hands and running and improving their players,” Dahal said. “We want to get Casmium on every single iPad in Iowa.”