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Sports startups are trying to change the game

Source | The Economic Times

Virat Kohli is not the only one shaping up for a scorching drive through the covers. A clutch of innovative startups, riding on the growing enthusiasm for sports in the country, are looking for ways to clear the boundary Kohli-style.

Entrepreneurs -many of them former amateur sportspeople -are setting up new businesses ranging from etailing sports apparel to providing analytics to improve performance.

As a student, Madhuvanthi A played everything from basketball to badminton, so it seemed natural she should turn sports entrepreneur at 33, after about a decade of working in tech, marketing and branding. Her company SlamdunQ has an app that can be downloaded on any wearable device, and provides inputs based on one’s actions and performance to improve skills. Coaches monitor movement, such as the bowling action or the golf swing, remotely and provide inputs.Early this year, her startup won the Google Launchpad contest from a pool of 1,000 startups.

Another startup that analyses performance, Chennai-based Sports Mechanics, is also run by a former sportsperson, Subramanian Ramakrishnan, who worked in a tech company for years. “I wanted to bring together sports and technology . I started analyzing games and performances of players using videos and data,” he says. Aarthi Sehwag and Anjali Tendulkar (both cricketers’ wives) own 25% and 35% stake in the company , which counts BCCI, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers and Hockey India as clients.

DRESSED TO WIN

Sports apparel and equipment is another burgeoning segment. Sports365, an e-tailer of sports goods, is looking to double its revenues to around $11 million this year, up from $5-6 million last year. “When we launched four years ago, we found it difficult to meet demand and supply ,” says G Chandra Sekhar Reddy . “From 20 four years ago, we have 100 brands competing now.”

Reddy , who raised funds from tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi and cricketer Yuvraj Singh, says Sports365 employs 100 people most of who have quit plush jobs to follow their passion for sports.

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