Powerhouse Ventures invests in Mahesh Bhupathi-backed Sports365
Sports365 is a Bangalore-based online store specializing in sports goods and fitness equipment. The company is owned and supported by Mahesh Bhupathi, Yuvraj Singh, Deepika Pallikal and Lara Dutta. US venture capital firm Powerhouse Ventures has invested in Sports365 in a deal where Gnarus Partners acted for Powerhouse Ventures. Powerhouse have also invested in the Global Superangels Forum Accelerator (GSF). More details about the investment haven’t been revealed yet.
The back story
It has been more than a year since then and Sports365 seems to be doing fairly well with an Alexa rank of about 10,000 in India (Alexa is not an authority in the space but has come to be accepted as a benchmark).
Our efforts to reach out to Vishal over email as well as phone have gone in vain and the reports don’t have a clear positioning about the team as well. The company is led by co-founder G. Chandra Sekhar after Vishal had to move on because of personal reasons. Sports365 is a 33 member team as of now.
Focusing on racket sports within sporting goods, Sports365 has a strong card with ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi as its mascot. Sports365 stocks 125+ badminton rackets, 100+ tennis rackets and 50+ squash rackets covering all international brands like Yonex, Wilson, Babolat, Head, and Prince. Sports365 is also betting strong on trekking and cycling equipment. The company also focussed on conducting events to build a community around sports in India (examples of community building: CommonFloor– around a real estate product, DogSpot– around a niche eCommerce site and HitWicket– gaming site).
Sports365 has a good online presence but a majority of its sales happen via offline channels. For instance, deals with the Ranji Trophy event organizers and such B2B channels.
The sporting goods space
Sporting goods online is a niche that many players have tried to capitalize on and there has been some consolidation already. Apart from Sports365, PlayGroundOnline is another prominent player in the space along with smaller competitors like KhelMart. And then there are the sporting categories of the bigger online stores like SnapDeal and Jabong.
PlayGroundOnline is backed by Blume Ventures and exists in the current avatar after it had acquired SportsNest (founded by Sanjay Rao). EsportsBuy is another player that was acquired by SnapDeal and then shut down so that is exists as the ‘Sports’ category on SnapDeal. EsportsBuy was founded by Delhi based Prateek Agarwal and Amit Monga.
Sports365 has the star power to muscle its way ahead and the fresh funding round will give them a thrust in this direction.
The post will be updated as soon as we hear from people at Sports365.