Sportidia wants to be the Facebook of sports
Between booking that beach tennis match via WhatsApp, liking a photo of a friend who completed the half marathon on Instagram or learning a rehearsed move to impress in the nude in a YouTube tutorial, the athlete (or aspiring) uses different apps. Sportidia, a platform that goes live next week, wants to put it all together in one place – including programming for a skate championship on the next trip to California or a sporting pillow fight. The new social network wants to bring together athletes, sports lovers and even sedentary people willing to change their lifestyle. Based in San Diego, the startup starts operating in the United States and Brazil, the land of the founders that has a very important audience: in addition to sports culture, the country is the second largest consumer of social networks in the West, according to data from the statist.
“We are a social network, we want communities to come together and there is a large audience for that”, says Nico Torteli, co-founder of Sportidia. “In all our surveys, less than 10% of people say they have no interest in physical activity and the vast majority play more than one sport. It is a trillion dollar market globally, if we also consider services”. The wellness economy moves about US$ 4.2 trillion annually, according to a survey by the Global Wellness Institute. The platform will start in three languages and the goal is to reach 5 thousand users in the first month, ensuring that 20% are recurring. The slightly more ambitious long-term plan spans hundreds of millions of users worldwide. To get off the ground, Sportidia made an angel round of BRL 2.3 million, which counted on MS Santini as advisor and investor. Most of the capital was raised from businessmen who were enthusiastic about the sport in Brazil, the United States and Switzerland. The check is being invested in hiring, marketing and technology to finish developing the app. Sportidia currently has 12 employees, almost all of whom are based in Brazil, despite being based in California.
“Our big competitors today are not performance platforms,” says Chris Kittler, also co-founder, of fitness and health apps. Today there are about 10,000 applications aimed at physical exercise. Running and cycling tracker Strava, for example, has 96 million users and is on the cusp of becoming a unicorn. “We will compete for time and attention with networks like Instagram and WhatsApp. There are many interesting tools with a more technical focus, but they don’t have this social factor, which is a differential that we bring”, he believes. Sportidia has a team of partner ambassadors to make connections with the target audience and advertisers. Among them are Olympic athletes, such as Jadel Gregório, from athletics, Heitor Shimbo, from fencing, and Alberto Klar, from swimming. The founders themselves have an athlete background, which helps with networking. Kittler has been a triathlete for 20 years, with 10 Ironman on his resume, and is already an entrepreneur in this sports market. He founded 7sherpas, an agency specializing in travel and sports experiences, the Active.com portal and the Ativo.com group. As a swimmer, Torteli competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, made a career in the financial market as VP of Garantia bank and turned to entrepreneurship after the bank was bought by Credit Suisse. He created Paggo, Noxtro and Freeddom Technology. The platform debuts with 150 modalities, from the most obvious, such as football, volleyball and martial arts, to the most unusual, such as pole dancing and pillow fights, which have already won a world championship. The Pillow Fighting Championship was created by former MMA fighters and has a ring to protect the audience – the weight of the pillows is defined by category. Monetization should initially come from advertising – it has already signed a contract with Hoka, of running shoes, Z2, of supplementation and Corporate Run – but executives have plans to explore the content vertical to generate revenue. Community users do not pay for using the platform, but can subscribe to a premium subscription, in the model that has been studied by the founders. The company wants to do a new fundraising soon and will seek US$ 1.5 million. In order to circumvent the less friendly venture capital market, it should concentrate fundraising with former athletes and companies that want to be associated with the brand.
Source: Value Pipeline