10
Sep

Meet the Startups in Area 31: People Sports

Escrito el 10 Septiembre 2013 por entrepreneurship en emprender

Author: Angélica Medina

People Sports: “last minute” platform for professional sports clubs

People SportsI had the opportunity to meet Laurent Chabbal, CTO and Co-founder of People sports, who told me about the innovative business idea which he has developed jointly with Matan Ganani, CEO and Co-founder of the company.

People Sports has developed an online platform, which will allow professional sports clubs to release unsold game tickets for sale. Either via auction or at a special last minute reduced price.

Where did you get the idea for People Sports?

Matan had the initial idea. He didn’t understand why there are so many empty seats in stadiums, including games of famous clubs; although most of the Spanish are football fans.

The statistics showed that at least 20% of seats are empty in each game. What is the problem? He saw that in France, it was worse and in Italy even more. He also identified that in Germany they doing well and noticed that the prices are cheaper compared to prices of other leagues (20 Euros on average with an occupation over 90-100%). So the problem seems to be the price.

He thought: I should do something to make people buy ticket at best price.

He also realized that there is competition in first and second market, but they do not add value for the clubs, so there is an opportunity!

He participated in Venture Lab with this idea:  to offer the clubs a platform to sell unsold stadium capacity last minute, either via auction or via reduced price. Clubs also has the benefit to get new customers segment: whom are interesting in football and those who only stop by price.

Laurent is in charge of IT platform (back end, front end), payment platform and operational matters.

Matan is responsible of business, marketing and legal matters.

What are basic features that you have to participate in the market?

We are developing a Website and Mobiles Apps (first Android and then iOS).

We also use technology as Geo-location, app-notification an email to notify events which goes on sale.

We use a bid process to get the tickets. How does it work? User indicates the price and number of tickets that he wants. When the user bid, he accepts automatic debit on your credit card when he wins the bid. There is not purchase re-confirmation. But, if you do not win, you do not pay!

Once users have done their bids, People Sports lets the club determine minimum price. It occurs 24 hours approximately before the match.

All the money collected from sales goes to the Clubs (minus a 5% commission for People Sports) and People Sports charge to users a service fee of 2.5 Euros per ticket sold.

One of the top causes to don’t buy by internet in Spain is security issue. How do you guarantee security to customers during payment process?

People Sports will use secure credit card payment gateway service with Paypal as well as financial services products as Visa and MasterCard.

What features would provide further differentiation?

People Sports provide differentiation from the time when its launch: it will add value for the club (filling sports venues, selling the extra capacity, generating additional revenue from a new customer segment). We will expect to position People Sports like a partner to Clubs.

Who are the customers? Are the football clubs or fans? Who is the buyer who makes the final decision?

Clubs have the final decision, but both of them are customers. People Sports works as B2C business to fans and B2B business to clubs.

What do you plan to do to proof the concept? Are you going to include apps (mobile-based)?

We are going to start with clubs from the Spanish League (La Liga).

At the beginning, we will release web platform and Android app and months later we’ll launch iOS app.

What would be included as part of the Spanish domestic market expansion, e.g. other clubs, additional kind of sport clubs or just football?

We want to negotiate with more football clubs and then we will include other sports clubs (e.g. basketball). Afterward, we plan to move to USA and maybe France (football and rugby) and Italy (football). Initially, we are going to see how it works in Spain.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

Get money to continue the business, via venture capital financing.

The sense of have the control to evaluate suppliers and the pressure to satisfy investors is a challenge. It is a huge responsibility but it is exciting because we have to use our knowledge and experience to move forward and develop the idea.

We got investment from Business Angels and invested our savings. In August, we went to the first round financing to raise sufficient capital to launch the product (there are 5 to 10 potential investors).

It has been hard to get investors but Matan is doing well to reach the goal.

You need to have good luck: luck to have a team that works well, luck to get financing and luck to make the business works.

What advice would you like to give to people who want to create a startup?

Have an idea that will be measured in terms of revenue. Actually, we changed the initial idea due to the revenue model.

Have a good idea with a simple business model to persuade investors.

The team is another key factor to success. Have complementary profiles, respect the perimeter of action of each other and be prepared to cover the position of your partner as a team.

Be flexible, responsible, and to control the ego.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you had the chance?

Yes, we do a proof of concept. Maybe, we would test the concept of auction or bid, with a small group. Nowadays, we only have basic feedback from clubs and potential customers, but we are optimistic!

At the moment, we are working on contact the clubs with the support of a Sport Marketing Agency in order to make a pitch for the clubs and to convince them to use the platform.

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