Amidst all the attention that cricket garners, it’s easy for a lay person engrossed in his life to forget that other sports exist too.
Since the internet has democratized media, issues, topics, passions, interests and hobbies which were earlier consigned to a specific corner of the world, now garner immense global, national or regional support, opening up new kinds of information and current affairs, which would definitely not have found the support they required to grow and thrive were it not for the digital medium.
In a world with ever increasing forms of media and entertainment avenues, the sports industry has had to reinvent and package itself for a new digitally-savvy audience. While, the established sports brands – from teams to companies – who already had a large following simply migrated to a new channel of communication, it’s the ‘emerging’ sports brands who have been presented with a quick way to scale faster provided they get their business models right.
The sports industry revolves around the athlete and the fan. This emerging segment is where Sportvot operates. We, at Bangalore Insider recently interacted with the founders of Sportvot, a sports media company with a differentiated offering operating in the segment that has been relatively unexplored so far – the local sports ecosystem of India. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Sportvot is a digital TV for local sports talent and emerging leagues in India. What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve? Grassroots or local sports tournaments have a higher emotional value and a recall with kids, parents, local athletes and their friends and family. But broadcasting them via traditional media houses is not an economical fit for both the leagues and the media houses, leaving about 94% of the sports ecosystem uncovered. Sportvot with its technology and its services has made broadcasting economical and easily accessible to these sports bodies. Sportvot provides a platform for sports bodies to stream their games online, local sports talent to show their skills, make them more marketable and connect the fans to their local heroes.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Sidhhant Agarwal: I have 7+ work experience working in the IT field, working with Oracle, Cashcare. I started my own startup in the fantasy gaming space exited that and now working on sportvot from the last 18 months. Yash Bhagwatkar: I look after operations and content here at SportVot. Before joining SportVot, I was working as a Software Engineer at Accenture as part of the operations team. I also led a team of 20 people in Multi-level marketing during my college days Shubhangi Gupta: I have 3 years of Digital Marketing experience. I have worked in 2 agencies as a Digital Marketer and handled 35+ clients, specializing in FMCG, fashion and tech sectors. Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you? We are based out of Mumbai. With our strong network in Maharashtra, we were able to onboard a lot of associations and athletes.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Sports Media is a market where a lot of people are trying to get in but are not able to make their way right. We are most paranoid about how to get deeper into the grassroots of more states to attain more such unexplored athletes and get them into the right eyes.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
MyCujoo, sport.video, and SportsFlashes are in a similar space, even though our product positioning is different, we consider them to be our closest competition. SportVot is different from these organizations because our purpose is not just broadcasting these matches, but also make good use of the data and help these exceptional local talents get discovered.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
With heavy day-to-day, 24×7, operations going on, it is difficult to maintain a standard work-life balance. We try to manage it by planning our schedules in a way, so we get weekly offs on different days. We make sure one of the founders is available for the rest of the team to keep functioning.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have raised funding from angel investors. We are looking to raise a seed round of around USD 350K.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
The biggest misconception is that people think we are a local broadcasting company, which is not our motto. Our core strength is talent discovery via data + multilingual content.
What gets you excited about this company?
Looking at the amount of excitement the audience has to watch and support their local athletes, it gets us motivated to work harder and explore more types of indigenous sports that aren’t heard of but have immense talent potential. We are always excited to cater to such a diverse group.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like?
Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night. We start our day with a daily discussion of schedules of matches being streamed, what content to make and daily app viewership statistics. Then all the 3 founders look after their respective departments and take care of the rest of the execution. Day to day processes also involve business development and growth planning.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Sidhhant and Yash started a small sports media project two years ago called The Free Hit Project. They used to do talk shows on IPL and create more engaging content around the same. They happened to get great organic traction and that’s when they decided to research more into this segment. Shubhangi met Sidhhant during the end of 2018 regarding some marketing consultation and then she came on board.
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