TechSparks Winner: Sanjay Rao, Founder, SportingMindz Technology Pvt.LtdTeam YS
“Enhancing performance thro’ innovation”
Software that can help players perform better on the field, improve their game and registermore wins sounds like something straight out of the future. Entrepreneurs are however people who look to the future and “SportingMindz Technology” is a positive step in bringing the future to the present.
We spoke to Sanjay Rao who told us about his venture saying “Founded by 4 people who have a passion for sports and IT – Prasanna Agoram, Sandeep Kannambadi, Vijay R. Bharadwaj and Sanjay Rao Sportingmindz is a pioneer in providing match analysis and analytical solutions & services to sports organizations through innovation. The innovative products help the teams, professional sportspersons, and students to analyze and enhance their performances.”
Business Idea- It’s no secret that cricket in India is a big money sport but the other disciplines also use the product that the foursome develops. Sanjay Rao told us more saying “The software products also help the administration to plan, schedule, monitor, track, and improve the overall functioning of the system including athletes, coaches, trainers, physios, and institutions. The software products provide extensive reporting system to identify the strengths and weakness of the players as well as solutions for enhancement. Sportingmindz provides a complete end to end back office support for storage, retrieval and analytical solutions.”
Target Market- SportingMindz makes it clear that “The scope of the organization is to cater for all the sporting fraternity – coaches, players, associations, media org, federations, and fans. Our products help all the federations to streamline their operations, players and coaches get to enhance their performance, fans get to analyze the game better.”What sets them apart- Sanjay pointed out the salient features of their software that will stand out when compared to any other product as -
- ease of use,
- richness in the content
- Analytics algorithm.
- single platform catering to multiple target audience
- right blend of technology and sports domain
Future Plans – Sportingmindz is aiming at growing “through partnership alliances – with distributors across the globe, partnership with companies whose products and services are complimentary” and by “raising funds for sales and marketing.” Sanjay stated their immediate goal saying that they aspire “to be the number #1 sports it org in Asia.”
His Entrepreneurial Story – Sanjay Rao believes that entrepreneurship is in many ways the fountain of youth he says” To put it in simple words – I felt very old whence working for a bigger company. I wanted to be young. Entrepreneurial ventures give you energy to be young. I felt limited when working for someone else. We don’t know the real limiting factor and want to see how far we can go in pushing threshold to survive.”
Their struggle to succeed was three fold comprising of
- convincing employees to be a part of the vision
- building awareness among customers for the need to change
- Being a very niche and a fragmented segment, convincing people that this is viable business model is a challenge
“By being very transparent and finding innovative usage models we have succeeded to a large extent in overcoming these challenges”
Sanjay let the cat out of the bag as he recalled the mistakes his group of four have made while learning the ropes. He says “We have made all the mistakes a business should not makeJ. Having a big team, hiring wrong people for wrong profile, trying to raise funds too early, decision made by emotions, you name the mistakes we had done those.”
“It will not be an understatement if you say that I have just 3 years of experience because all the previous year’s exp working in a multinational doesn’t help to a large extent when you are bootstrapping”Sanjay also took a moment to acknowledge those that have backed Sportingmindz in their Endeavour saying “Friends and family invested because of love rather than faithJ. An angel group invested because they wanted to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit that they saw in our team.”
“The strength of the company is more or less the same. But it’s grown on the experience front because most of employees have stayed with us from day one. We have however built a big partners’ network across the globe (ind, sa, uk, aus and us). We call them extended office”
Recognition gained- Sanjay has many customers but is proudest of the Dr Vijay Mallya owned Royal Challengers from Bangalore. He says “Seeing our customer win and customer stating it’s because of our services – ipl1 & 2 was a classic example “
He added “It’s still very early stage. But getting repeated orders from customer is itself recognition of the work we do. We have got testimonials from coaches and players which make our life better.”
He believes their path to success and recognition lies in “Being true to our tagline – enhancing performance thro’ innovation”
Entrepreneurial lesson –Sanjay stated that the Indian entrepreneurial scene has a long way to go. He pointed out that the difficulties saying “support system is very fragile” and that it is difficult “getting a dedicated mentor who can relate to your org’s vision”. He showed glimpses of his impish humor adding “on a lighter note- stigma of not working in a MNC (no benefits from financial institutions especially if you are planning to get married or build a house). Everything else will have to wait J”.
Sanjay despite his views says that as an aspiring entrepreneur one should “Listen to your heart and have lot of patience. It’s not about money all the way. It’s a step to change the world around you.”
Yourstory wishes Prasanna Agoram, Sandeep Kannambadi, Vijay R. Bharadwaj and Sanjay Rao many victories on and off the field. We have faith that their product will not just change their fortunes but that of Indian sports too.