Elliott Rayner and Daniela Montesdeoca, two Alumni of the MBA in Sports Management of The Real Madrid Graduate School-Universidad Europea, that met each other during the academic course in 2016. Since then, they are working together in a project that want to make sport simple. They were selected for the Adidas Lead start up accelerator in Berlin, the world biggest sports focused start up incubator which focus or the investing and supporting the launch of our business, and they participated in the Rise Start Up Exhibition in Hong Kong in July.
Could you tell us what’s your product about and what problem does it solve?
MySportMall is an online platform which connects users directly to their sporting stakeholders. When we practice a certain sport, skill or exercise we require many different components: Products and Services to make us better equipped, Clubs and Organisations to make you better, connecte, events and tourism to make you better experiences, media and education to make you better prepared. In addition, all the components to become better.
These things are vital for practice a sport or fitness discipline, yet can rarely be found in the same location. Our MBA thesis was dedicated to solving this problem. We researched how we could facilitate how a person interacts and engages with sport in their everyday life. This research led to the creation of MySportMall. A website that structures everything the user sees precisely to their needs as an athlete. Segmented by their individual sport, tailored to their level of ability and focused on their current location. For example, in the case of a person who just started to practice triathlon, through our site he/she could: Contact a triathlon trainer, join a local swimming club, register for an upcoming race, purchase new cycling equipment, hire a local Physio, etc. All from the same intuitive digital network. In other words, we make sport simple!
What market are you addressing?
There are few things more globally loved than Sport. For this reason, we believe our platform could be successfully utilized by people and organisations from all over the world.
However, we recognise the importance of testing our business model in a smaller market before expanding further. We are therefore choosing to launch in two pilot markets. A major metropolitan city in the form Hong Kong and a developing country in the form of Ecuador. Through these two pilot markets we hope to learn everything we need to know to enhance our business model and build a solid expansion strategy.
What makes your product different from the others?
One of our core beliefs is that people are not defined by their sport. You might consider yourself to be footballer but you also use yoga and rowing to stay fit. Or maybe you currently training for a triathlon but play competitive tennis and do dancing to stay in shape. The point is everyone has different and diverse wants and needs when it comes to sports and these will continually change throughout your life. This means you will inevitability interact and engage with hundreds if not thousands of different sports dedicated stakeholders, all of which currently operate in different locations or on separate platforms.
MySportMall creates one place for all of these sporting stakeholders to exist. A centralised connection between people and their local sports dedicated businesses, organisations and professionals. We have seen how companies as such Trip advisor and Booking.com have implemented a similar strategy to revolutionize the hospitality industry. We believe the sport industry needs a similar tech revolution. Our platform can support this by simply bringing all the players of the industry closer together.
How did you come up with that idea?
While working for our Sports Management Consultancy “Sports Evolution Ecuador” we had contracts with many different sports dedicated businesses and professionals. We came to the realisation that many of them were suffering from the same problems.
They were struggling to cope with the large marketing and communications budgets needed to attract new customers and connect with their target market. The local sports industry is both disorganised and disconnected and the businesses and professionals within were suffering because of it. We saw how digital platforms in other industries help to provide structure and transparency and wondered how a sports version of these platforms might successfully operate to meet the needs of the industry. These conversations became the first concept meetings for MySportMall.
How long have you been working together as a Company?
Daniela and I met through the Master's Degree at Real Madrid Graduate School-Universidad Europea in 2016. We collaborated on several projects for Sport Evolution. Many of these projects were focused on helping sports business and professionals connect with their customers and so these conversations naturally led to the first discussions and ideas of MySportMall. It was on the university trip to New York that we finalized the project idea and signed out first contract together as CoFounders.
What’s the current status of your company?
After completing our thesis, business plan, the online platform and securing key initial partnerships we are finally at launch stage. We will roll out our marketing strategies in the two chosen pilot markets to ensure we recruit dedicated businesses, professional and users registered on the site. Our mission is to learn as much as possible about how people discover, engage, enjoy and celebrate sport so that we can adapt the platform accordingly to these needs.
How was your experience at the LeAD Sports Accelerator? And at the RISE StartUp exhibition in Hong Kong?
Both of these events provided great opportunities to make key connections within the sport industry. Developing a start-up can be a lonely business and we know we need to make strong partnerships to achieve our long-term goals. At LeAD we were able to connect with key industry mentors who could help provide strategic guidance. At RISE we were exposed to hundreds of innovative sports start-ups and acquired a better understanding of how our business model must function in order for MySportMall to successfully assist new sports dedicated businesses and professionals.
How did The Real Madrid Graduate School- Universidad Europea help you to achieve your goals?, What were the main rewards of studying there?
Each of our three CoFounders have dedicated their professional careers to the Sports Industry. Being able to study an MBA which and provided us not just wish new academic skills but a great understanding of the sports industry was critical for us to take the next step in our careers. Although we had the idea for MySportMall through our consultancy, it was through our thesis that we could conduct the necessary research to bring the idea to life. Our final thesis eventually evolved into our first business plan so this process was vital in forcing us to develop the correct strategy and plan to push us to point that we are at today.
What are your future plans as a company?
Out short-term goal is secure thousands of registered businesses, professionals and users interacting within the platform. We must also recruit key partners and sponsors and investors who can help take the business to the next level.
Our long-term mission is to make sport simple. To do that we need to be constantly learning how people interact with sport. The future of MySportMall will depend on designing and adapting our platform to create something that truly makes sport easier for everyone and increase global sporting participation.
Any advices for the students that want to study in the School and want to work in the sports sector?
The master’s thesis requires a huge amount of time and hard work. It would be a crime not to use this opportunity order to create something that the writers think can benefit the industry. If it is done correctly there is no reason why it could not then be converted into a successful business plan. For this reason, it is vital to choose your topic and team carefully. The MBA in Sports Management is dedicated to learning the state, trends and problems existing in the current and the future sports industry. The thesis should be dedicated in finding a way to successfully solve them.
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