College work, office work, all the pending work is at one side, and the fun and excitement of going for a game of badminton, cricket or any other game that you like is all together a different feeling. Right?
But, your busy time schedules and back to back deadlines don’t allow you to fit in time for such exciting refreshments? Even if you manage to fit in sometime, you end up wasting half the time looking out for a ground or waiting for your turn in your society?
How many of us can relate to this above scenario? I am sure most of us can, but how many of us have actually tried taking a step ahead and trying to solve this universal problem of sports lovers? One such sport lover, Ankur was also one among those relating to the scenario above, and he went ahead to try to connect the dots and leverage the loopholes to come up with a platform to allow the corporate goers a ground that is always available to them whenever they manage to sneak in time for some fun.
Ankur’s solution to this problem of not finding the right facilities for sports when needed led to the birth of his baby – his startup – Groundwala.in. This startup is a team of sports lovers with a vision to facilitate sports through its online platform. From facility booking to sports event registrations and sporting events, the firm offer a range of services to players, sports facility owners, and sports event organizers.
Their approach is simple—to design something that they will LOVE to use themselves.
“Playing some or the other sports was on top of my agenda whenever I used to get some spare time from selling working capital loans to SMEs and corporate clients. But waiting hours for our turn to play badminton at my society’s shuttle court every evening; making numerous calls to check availability of cricket ground week on week; not finding a buddy to play with, made me feel frustrated and this was my story for 9 years of my corporate life in five different cities on India. That’s how I connected the dots and decided to start working on this idea of simplifying recreational sports and help people play.” Chips in Ankur when asked about the start of his exciting journey.
Ankur along with his 3 member sales team and 2 member tech team are the backbone of this startup. The application was launched in the city approximately 7 months back, and today they have their presence in Delhi-NCR and Pune.
After the idea generation stage, Ankur decided to do all his research before jumping into the sea. That is when Ankur realized that they should first attempt to understand the whole dynamics of sports facility booking and operations before they come up with one of their own. So Ankur went ahead and leased two sports facility and decided to run it for 3-4 months and also organized four sports leagues for different sports. That is when the fact actually struck him that the whole booking process of sports facility is quite different than a normal booking for tickets for movies or travel. Mostly people book air tickets or movie tickets for themselves or their family members and hence decision making is faster and chance of cancellation is less. But in case of sports facility booking it is complex, confirmation needs to be taken from more than dozen people (sometimes these people are just acquaintances) and hence there is high probability of change of plans and cancellation.
After this trial run, he decided to build a product keeping both sellers and buyers in perspective. They approached reliable technology partners to work on this, worked on the product for about 4-5 months before launching it 7 months back in November 2015.
“There are many other startups working in this domain and trying to solve this problem. In my opinion any plain vanilla application won’t be able to establish themselves, until they understand this business inside out and customize. We need to recognize that each sport is unique and the playing pattern in each location is different from other.” Quotes Ankur.
What can you do using Groundwala.in?
The registration process at Grounwala is quite simple. Once your game and rules are decided, all you have to do is logon to the official website of the startup and –
- Sign up – Signup and explore sports venue and opponent team in your city
- Search – Search for appropriate venues based on your needs and budget
- Book – If your favourite venue is available, go ahead and book
- Play and enjoy your game
- And follow their updates to take part in their sporting events
Ankur, Founder: He has been working on Groundwala for last 2 years in multiple cities, though most of time under stealth mode while he was working in a bank. He knows the sports business fairly well and have seen two complete cycles. With his perseverance he has made Groundwala one of the most engaging sports booking platform in India. Before Groundwala he worked with MNC banks for 9 years and has proven his mettle in sales and financials analysis domain.
Shruti & Rahul (The Techies, Product development): The duo are the young entrepreneurs, they are running a successful web development company for last 4 years. Shruti is UI and UX expert and Rahul the champion developer. Both are part of core member team of Groundwala.
Nagender, (The Event Guy, Event coordinator): Nagender is associated with GW since inception and has been instrumental in managing corporate sports event on turn-key basis. His prior experience of 10 years in various banks in Hyderabad helps GW on doing events.
Joseph & Vinod (The Fresher’s, Sales & BD): The fresher who are working relentless on tying-up with various sports venue across the city and also take care of the operation.
Groundwala is little over 2 years old and the team of the startup proudly states the fact that majority of their traction is from Hyderabad. The website has over 5000 active users from the city and approximately 125 verified sports venue listed on their platform of which 50 are selling online. With so many users and listing, the team is able to facilitate over 300 matches per month. Lately, they have also started sports event listing section, which helps tournament organizers to spread the word to relevant audience. It is widely appreciated by organizers and our users. The team grew tremendously and had such high demand that the GW team was able to launch their mobile app for both android and iOS.
When we asked the team about their future plans, Ankur said, “Longer term plan is to make a global distribution system for sports facilities across length and breadth of the Globe and want to make “GW” synonymous to recreational sports. But for now we are only concentrating on smaller universe called Hyderabad and gradually we will venture into Delhi and Pune. We are also looking forward to young and relentless people with animal spirit to join us in Hyderabad and elsewhere.”
If you are someone who owns a sports venue or planning to organize a sports tournament, still Groundwala is a platform for you because you can go ahead and list your property over it as it is a “Do It Yourself” platform. If you are not a venue owner and just a sports lover, then you must have already understood why you HAVE to sign up with this startup IMMEDIATELY!
Kudos to the team of GW for building such an amazing platform for all sport lovers and for trying to bring more people ‘outside’.