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It's all in the game

Get a chance to discover new venues, buy apparel and more with these companies  

Millions across the country cheered as Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar won medals and earned accolades at the recently-concluded Rio Olympics. Despite these stellar performances, India was an outlier at the games, bagging only two medals, as compared to countries such as United States, Great Britain and China. In an attempt to make India a sporting superpower, the startup capital of the country is home to organisations that are working towards creating a sporting culture and community of sports enthusiasts in India. Metroplus takes a look at some of the city-based sports startups that are setting the sporting scene on fire.

Playo

Investment banker Gauravjeet Singh loved sports and wanted to create something that connects amateur athletes, venues, and service providers and solves the issues that people interested in playing sport in the city faced. “All of us have played multiple games when we were growing up. However, as the city expands, commute becomes a hassle, we felt that playing any sport and an opportunity to let your hair down and relax was very difficult. I started Playo with five friends. The app helps users to reserve playing spots at nearby venues, find coaches, and connect with potential competitors online.”

He adds, “Though we started off as an aggregator, what we aim at creating is an online community that thrives on the love of sport. We realised that venues and trainers did exist, but there was no platform that bought it all together.” Gaurav explains, “Playo helps integrate venues into the app and makes the booking process for venues easier. We have more than 75,000 people signed into the platform. We want to get into the recreational sports space and do not see ourselves as a fitness app. We offer a range of sports from cricket, football, basketball and table tennis and many others. It took some time for the idea to find takers, but we are thrilled with the response. We have recently set up an office in Dubai as well. We are the pioneers in the field in the world.”

Gaurav says that building sporting communities is very important if India has to emerge as a serious contender in international sporting events. “We need to give sports as much priority as academics. We also need to ensure that everyone plays a sport. If somebody in your family plays a sport regularly, there is a good chance your kids take it up. We need to nurture good talent. I hope that apps like playo play a part in getting more people hooked to sports and aids people in taking up more sports.”

Footieculture

Footieculture was started by a group friends, who were in love with the beautiful game for childhood, couple of years ago. One of the co-founders, Preetham Chandra was a risk analyst at Amazon and a huge football buff. “I used to play football for my college team, and was part of several tournaments. We started Footieculture as an attempt to create a community of football lovers in the city. There is a lot of interest in the game in the city, especially due to games from European leagues being broadcast live. We met kids who would stay up late watching Champions league football and EPL matches. There is a lot of interest and a tradition of popular clubs in the city. We wanted to nurture the interest and give a substantial platform for those interested to play the game.”

He adds, “We started by screening matches and have moved on to conducting tournaments, providing world class training to talented individuals at our centres in Kengeri and Whitefield.

Chandra points out, “Bengaluru has a very active football culture. I feel that football is also gaining in popularity in the city. However, we feel talented youngsters lack a good platform to showcase their skills and hone their talent. We hope to change that by providing more opportunities and ensuring that the best get a chance to head to Europe. We have an academy in Kengeri and also conduct corporate events. Football is a great sport to help you stay fit. We have been overwhelmed by the response.”

Sports 365

Sports 365 started three years ago as an attempt to provide avenues for easy access to sports products. It has the backing of sporting legends such as Mahesh Bhupathi and others. Shruti Deshpande, the marketing manager of the firm says, “When the company started out, one could only find sports apparel on Amazon and Flipkart. We have more than 40,000 products and have been tying up with brands across the world to get the best sporting equipment. We have also developed shoes for school kids and badminton shuttles. There is a lot of interest in good sports equipment and we are aiming to fulfil the demand. Better equipment will result in better performances in the long run. We are tying up with schools and colleges to promote sports at the grassroot level.”

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