Neel says “While the venture is entirely self-funded and self-managed, its existence and current success wouldn't have been possible without the support of the partners like KCS, Pratiksha Thanki, Shradha Sharma, Lavanya, Gaurav Kohli, Gift Centre (Ahmedabad) and Nirav Printers. Others who have contributed from the start are Betro (Nirav), Bobo (Rushabh), Bottle (Darshak), Chikno (Rinkal), Keshu (Chirag) & Sattu (Satyaveer) who share equal passion for sports."
Yourstory met up with Neel who provided an insight into what his business is all about. He says “SPOXCHANGE - The Global Sports Stock Exchange is an entertainment portal born out of the need for change in the online sports entertainment. SPOXCHANGE is a result of combination of sports entertainment with stock market fundamentals. This venture lets fans use their knowledge & understanding to trade in stocks of their favorite sports players. One just needs to register, trade in virtual money and get a chance of winning attractive prizes."
Right now, only cricket players are listed on the site and the trading season also is scheduled from (0001hrs) 15-Apr-09 to (2359hrs) 25-May-09 considering the upcoming 2nd season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Other features available on the site are Live Scorecard, Latest News, Videos, Blogs, and Newsletters, etc.
Neel explains his reasoning behind the concept he says” All sports fans and enthusiasts who can’t manage to see the match live are mostly glued to sites with live scorecard and dumb commentary. SPOXCHANGE increases the level of involvement of all viewers and lets them use their knowledge to trade in stock of players. While they use virtual money (SPX – SPOXCHANGE Currency), they stand to win real prizes worth Rs. 10,000.”
“The differentiating factors of our business would be the unique concept, variety of sports and other features on the website. Transparency in the entire process is another point that will keep people interested. This is also a platform to bring fans together and with new upcoming features, they can network and share their knowledge and passion for sports. SPOXCHANGE is open to change and that is the biggest factor that will keep it going.”
He plans to scale up the business by hiking the prizes, increasing the variety of sports, introducing new players, adding new features, etc. All of it has been planned and is already in action.
Neel says he chose Entrepreneurship because “Entrepreneurship is exciting not because it is the in-thing to do. The thrill that one gets in owning and running a business and making it successful is fantastic. Also you can live a life of autonomy and freedom with you being your own boss. The biggest challenge so far was the development of the site. With this being an online venture, the code could be easily copied and hence wanted to choose a vendor who could be trustworthy. Eventually, KCS was an organization of a friend’s friend and hence decided upon it. The next big challenge was the legal aspect of the portal. It could be considered gambling by some and may be taken in a negative sense.”
He considers his biggest mistake to be launching the website before checking all the functionalities as wanted to bank on the upcoming IPL Season-2.He says “The launch being about 10 days before the IPL Season-2, I had to ensure a substantial base of users to visit the site, register and bid for IPOs. Hence, deciding the players to be listed, their offer price, total shares in the market, etc was crucial and urgent. Considering the low budget, I got into symbiotic relationship with other organizations like Yourstory.in, cplash.com, etc. and people like Gaurav Kohli, Pratiksha Thanki, etc. The result was “Direct Mailing” and “word-of-mouth” campaigns amongst thousands of online users across the world. “
Neel has plans for the immediate future too he reveals “With IPL Season-2 followed by ICC T20 World Cup in England, the plan is to add many more national and international players to the exchange for people to trade. Premier League and Champions League will be over soon and we plan to do research on the players, teams and other parameters on which the trading can take place. Formula-1 is picking up and hence that might be added soon to the portal with users able to trade in stocks of teams and drivers. With the promise of addition of these and other sports, the venture aims to get around 25,000 users from around the world to the site in next 2-3 years.With such an innovative and exciting venture, Yourstory is sure Neel and SPOXCHANGE will go a long ways in changing how Sports and entertainment is viewed in our country.