Busy work schedules often derail the motivation to remain fit. Sports has always been an opportunity to unwind as well as get some much needed exercise. MondoBoard has designed an ingenious method to keep you going by promising to locate the nearest facility customized to the sport of your choice and as a bonus to keep you motivated, find a partner or teammate for you. It’s a convenient platform that negates common excuses to remain fit, and also provides those genuinely committed to sports with an opportunity to meet people with similar interests.
Starting-up: Where did everyone go?
Arvind Eashwar and Pratik Chopra both moved back to Mumbai only to be confronted with dismal opportunities to play sports. “I didn’t have a tennis partner or know of a club I could use. I found it bizarre that in a city of 12 million people, I couldn’t find another person to play tennis with”, Arvind says. Pratik’s experience was a little different as when he moved back to Mumbai, he suddenly discovered that his friends were too caught up in their work and their busy routines just didn’t permit any time.
Pratik returned to Mumbai after completing his masters from the University of Illinois and working in Silicon Valley. He worked on US defense projects and also worked with gaming companies like Zynga and IGT. Arvind has been an entrepreneur since he was just 9 years old when he started a company that sold class management excel workbooks to teachers. He worked with McKinsey and Company before founding MondoBoard with Pratik.
Their aim is to create a strong network of people who play sports. “We are starting off by focusing on helping people connect with each other in order for them to play a sport with each other”, Pratik says. The website takes into consideration your interest in sports, your location, and your skill level. Based on this combination, MondoBoard provides recommendations of people one can play with as well as a facility that can be used for that purpose.
Challenges that they’ve encountered so far
A challenge, Pratik states, is locating a sports facility to use. He expands “You can connect people with similar sports interests but unless you give them access to a sports facility, they won’t play. Thankfully we recognized this in our early days.” Another hurdle they face is finding people who still play sports, as once people get older and more involved with their work life, they stop playing and start watching. “Hence, there’s a lot of inertia in people to play sports. Being a start-up, it’s very hard to activate people who are saddled with this inertia”, Arvind notes. This has been one of their main challenges, finding those who play rather than those who merely follow sports.
An optimistic future
They believe that this will enable competitions amongst users and the users will also get rated by those they play against. The idea behind this is to give players some semblance of playing in a league.
“Interestingly, we’ve learnt that it’s about reaching out to a few people initially and then the information automatically spreads. Sports is a common topic for social conversations and thus, once some people are aware they bring it up ”, Arvind says.
They both thrive on the feeling of solving a problem through a solution that they have crafted. They describe the feeling as “magical” and cite it as their inspiration.
It is estimated that 20 million people in India play sports and have access to the Internet, which is a large target market that MondoBoard has tapped into. Extrapolated globally, this number reaches 150 million. MondoBoard hopes to revive physical activity in a world that is increasingly technologically driven, but are doing this by also recognizing the importance technology plays and the people it can reach.