From the golf course to the golfer, how GolfLan is connecting it all

23rd Jan 2018
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Online golf community and marketplace GolfLan aims to make the sport more accessible and affordable to golfers, while helping golfing clubs maximise course utilisation and revenue. 

Startup: GolfLan

Founder: Dhruv Verma

Year it was founded: 2015

Where is it based: Delhi

Sector: Sports

Funding raised: $2.5 million

For any sport-crazy individual, the opportunity to connect and interact with like-minded people is a boon. So when 36-year-old Dhruv Verma, an avid golfer, looked for a way to get a deeper connect with the golfing industry he ended up frustrated.

While there were several avenues for cricket, football and hockey fans to connect and interact, there was limited opportunity for a golfing enthusiast.

So, Dhruv began his entrepreneurial journey with GolfLan, a business to help solve problems of the Indian golf industry.

The name GolfLan is derived from “Golf” and “LAN – Local Area Network”; the startup integrates and brings all golfing enthusiasts together on one the first golf-centric online community.

As Dhruv happened to be a golfer, it was easy for him to connect to the community of golfers. After working for the likes of Aircel and Standard Chartered, Dhruv knew that technology would be an added advantage to GolfLan.

Team @ GolfLan

The business 

GolfLan aims to make the game of golf more accessible and affordable. Thus, starting with funding of $1 million from YourNest Angel Fund in 2015, GolfLan in 2016 raised $1 million from ISON, an Africa-based information technology group.

Post this, it acquired Dubai based StayPrime in an all-cash deal to strengthen technology and also acquired Golfgreedy.com in Southeast Asia. The company now has operations in Dubai, Singapore and South Africa.

Post-acquisition, Hugh Bishop, CEO, StayPrime, joined the team. He is an ex-international FIFA referee, and the VP of Omnix International. The core team comprises Anurag Bhatnagar, Mayank Jha, and Swati Sharma.

GolfLan automates critical golf course functions and provides keen decision-enabling insights for golf courses. This, in turn, helps reduce the operational cost of running the golf course, and increases revenue from golfers across multiple touch points such as F&B, green fees, rounds booking, pace of play, and customer service.

StayPrime works as golf cart fleet management system in the market. StayPrime GPS can be deployed on any course, any cart, anywhere in the world. It can be used at over 100 courses across 25 countries to manage golf rounds, save course management costs as well as earn additional revenue.

GolfLan also offers TeePass and Corporate Golf Solutions. TeePass is a global golf pass, which allows golfers to play complimentary golf games at 4000+ courses across 40 countries.

The workings 

The programme works as an elite annual subscription for affordable and global golf and has various modules for different category of consumers.

StayPrime devices are sold for upfront cash transactions or five-year leasing deals. Tee Pass corporate solutions are provided to large corporates on three to five year deals against product and service fee.

GolfLan is the official golf concierge partner for Standard Chartered Bank, Diners Club International, Development Bank of Singapore, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, RAKBANK, Mashreq Bank, Emirates National Bank of Dubai, A Bank, and Union Pay.

GolfGreedy.com and GolfLan make the sport of golf more accessible and affordable to golfers, while helping golf clubs increase their course utilisation and revenue.

GolfLan claims to connect with over 200,000 golfers.

“StayPrime and Golflytics enable $40,000 per annum average revenue increment and $15,000 per annum saving per golf course,” Dhruv says.

He adds that the entire GolfLan operation and technology development is based out of India.

“We are doubling our revenue year on year with least amount of capital influx. This financial year, the company is expected to close on $3million. The last few years have set the foundation for our products, geographic reach, and team strength. We are now ready to maximise our revenues in the coming years,” Dhruv says.

The market 

Today, there are a growing number of startups dedicated to sports and building a sporting community – Athletto, Playo, Smaash, Dreamsfield, PlayArena, XLR8, SportsCafe, and PlayNLive to name a few.

A YourStory article reported that over 300 million tuned in to watch the 2015 World Cup Cricket semi-final between India and Australia. The opening week of the ISL- India’s Football League - got close to 170 million views 2014.

GolfLan, however, is keen to keep the focus on golfing.

Dhruv says their first differentiator is that their business model works across the demand (golfers) and supply (golf courses) sides. He adds that each business has been built around high-end and value-driven customer offerings far superior to existing solutions in terms of variety, costing, technology, and service.

The team is currently in the process of raising another $1.2 million, of which $500,000 has been raised from a Dubai-based HNI.

Speaking of GolfLan’s future plans, Dhruv says, “Apart from expanding and establishing new markets across Africa, Europe, North America and Oceania, GolfLan will also aim to provide a wider variety of automation and big data solutions for golf courses and corporates to reduce the cost of golf operation and thereby the cost of playing golf.”

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