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Joseph Hamilton ’12: two-time tech entrepreneur - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

Joseph Hamilton ’12: two-time tech entrepreneur

March 28, 2024

Two men holding up a large version of a $15,000 check

Last fall, Columbus State University alumnus Joseph Hamilton went head-to-head in pitching his newest invention against other area entrepreneurs in the annual “Shark Tank”-style BizPitch competition. The 2012 D. Abbott Turner College of Business & Technlogy graduate wowed judges and captured more than $15,000 in prize money he’s investing into his endeavor.

Hamilton’s BizPitch-winning project is 4 Second Football, which he calls “the world’s smartest football.” According to Hamilton, it’s the first football capable of timing a quarterback’s throw and collecting performance data along the way.

“[4 Second Football’s] ultimate value is in its transparency,” he explained. “It builds confidence in a player because they now have to focus more in real time [during practice] when they see that they’re not performing to the level or the standard that the coach has set.”

The specially engineered football pairs with a wristband worn by quarterbacks. It provides players with instant insights into their throwing precision, timing and decision-making. That data syncs with the football’s companion smartphone app, allowing the quarterback to track performance over time. Hamilton sees applications for the device ranging from individual and team practice to football camps and passing academies.

The Columbus native and former Waddell Elementary and Blackmon Road Middle School later graduated from Columbus High School, where he played cornerback for the Blue Devils. After leaving the area briefly for college, he returned to Columbus, enrolled at Columbus State and played club football. His love for the game is what he says inspired the idea for 4 Second Football.

Joe Hamilton holding a football and wearing a 4 Second Football t-shirt“I was watching [a 7-on-7 game] and the guys were arguing over how long the quarterback had to throw the ball,” he recalled. “They were counting manually—one, one thousand, two, one thousand—and they started arguing over how slow the count was. I thought to myself, ‘why hasn’t that been automated?’”


Hamilton’s first-place finish in BizPitch’s technology category came with a $15,000 prize, plus an additional $1,500 as the competition’s People’s Choice winner. He said those winnings will help him address the challenge most common to start-ups and small businesses: capital.

“What am I working to overcome? That’s a loaded question,” Hamilton said. “Outside of building out the right team, the fastest thing that can kill a business more than anything is a lack of capital and funding.”

Since BizPitch’s inception three years ago, the annual event has been co-hosted by Columbus State’s D. Abbott Turner College of Business & Technology and local nonprofit StartUp Columbus. According to StartUp Columbus Executive Director Ben MacMinn, helping entrepreneurs and inventors overcome the financing hurdle was one of the reasons behind creating BizPitch.

“These [BizPitch] funds can help entrepreneurs’ short-term capital needs, as the funds can be used to cover startup expenses, prototype development or other pressing costs—helping to accelerate their business growth,” MacMinn explained. “Additionally, it can contribute to long-term capital needs by offering a financial foundation that winners can leverage to attract further investments, expand their operations or scale their ventures.”

Hamilton agreed, pointing out that—outside the influx of operating capital—opportunities like BizPitch provide him and his fellow entrepreneurs with a forum to showcase their vision, talents and products. He said in the four months since BizPitch, he’s leveraged the competition and his earnings to begin initial sales.

Other than generating capital, technology and production are other concerns that fill Hamilton’s days. And, with partners from Oklahoma to India and Pakistan, that means juggling details, logistics and global time zones on top of his “real job.” Like many entrepreneurial projects, 4 Second Football is what you’d call a “side hustle” on top Hamilton’s 9-to-5 work as head of search engine optimization for an Atlanta-based digital advertising company.

Photo of Kiederra and Joe HamiltonStaying busy is nothing new for Hamilton—dating back to his high school days as a student-athlete and later as a Columbus State student. Outside playing club football, Hamilton was an active member of the student body. As a member and president of the Eta Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Hamilton was equally active in the Student Government Association and the Turner College’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. Through his off-campus job, he met his wife Kiederra (pictured with Hamilton), who he married in 2015.

Ever the athlete, Hamilton has a vision outside his professional activities to establish a 7-on-7 recreational league for youth. He hopes such an opportunity would keep kids engaged and active during the offseason and summer, as well as help them attract the attention of travel teams and scouts as they pursue their interest in football beyond high school.


The November 2023 BizPitch wasn’t a first for Hamilton; he’s been pitching 4 Second Football in some form or fashion since 2020.

“Each pitch really makes you break your business apart so you can put out the best representation of your business plan, your business model, your target audience,” he said. “If it’s not something you’re truly passionate about, the judges will be able to tell that right away.”

While not a judge, MacMinn pointed to Hamilton’s success at demonstrating a passion for his project, as well as a solid foundation for the technology and business dynamics undergirding it.

“Joe’s passion for his venture was evident throughout his pitch,” MacMinn summarized. “His depth of industry knowledge was remarkable, demonstrating a thorough grasp of market dynamics, trends and opportunities. Together, these qualities set Joe apart as a visionary entrepreneur poised for success in the dynamic landscape of technology innovation.”

That feedback is music to Dr. Deb Kidder’s ears. As dean of the Turner College, she hopes the college’s curriculum instills a sense of business acumen and entrepreneurialism in all its graduates.

Columbus has a rich start-up history, and we are proud to have our alumni join the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she said. “Joe is a role model and an inspiration for our current students.”

Building on his StartUp Columbus BizPitch success, Hamilton went head-to-head against seven other entrepreneurs at Atlanta's Startup Runway Showcase, hosted by the Startup Runway Foundation. At the March 21 competition, he walked away with a $10,000 cash prize to invest in his start-up, along with its Audience Choice Award.

Hamilton calls himself a “two-time entrepreneur” since, before 4 Second Football, he came up with Bacchus, which also remains a personal project. Since 2015, he’s been working on refining and bringing to market the wearable alcohol-monitoring bracelet/smartphone app combination that can notify wearers in real time what their blood alcohol content is, as well as their total alcohol consumption over a day, week, month or year.

Past Columbus State-affiliated BizPitch prize winners include Jay Pitts, a 2014 biology graduate, and president and CEO of ClinCept Clinical Research (2021); and two-time alumna Rashmi Hudson ’83, ’91, founder and inventor of ALLTIMATE luggage (2022).

Media contact: 
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729, 

Related news coverage:
From Football Dreams to Tech Triumphs: The Entrepreneurial Journey of Joe Hamilton (StartUp Columbus blog, Jan. 9, 2024)
Local inventors go head-to-head in 2023 BizPitch finals for $15,000 prize (WRBL-TV, Nov. 9, 2023)
Business on Your Side: StartUP Columbus Biz Pitch Finalists (WRBL-TV, Nov. 7, 2023)