Startup of the Week: Sportsmanias.com
Sportsmanias’ mission is to be the easiest, fastest, most complete source of team news on web and mobile. We are a faster Bleacher Report with ESPN quality because of the way we feature local beat writers from across the country whom collectively cover every professional and collegiate team at Twitter speed. When you add videos, Instagram photos from top players, rumors, schedules, standings, and a social algorithm you’ve got a one-stop-shop for team news. We want to be the destination where diehards feed their addiction to their favorite teams.
Reflect a bit on where you’ve been as a business, and where you aim to be in 3 years.
We’ve lived the start-up experience from the ground up, taking our concept from idea to fruition. We’ve spent every morning since October checking our site (and now app) traffic with anticipation, tracking Google analytics for validation of a product we knew would catch on. As a diehard myself, Sportsmanias was created based on what every avid sports fan craves—constant inside scoop on their favorite teams from reliable sources. We’ve gone from meetings with lawyers, programmers, SEO experts, and college students to building a team and a product, to now meeting with investors, professional athletes, and industry leaders in sports. It’s all paying off as our site’s traffic is surpassing our projections with almost 200,000 unique monthly visitors to date and a projection 1.5 million UMV’s by end of year. Our app has been ranked as high as #8 in the US iTunes store and fans are averaging 15 minutes per visit.
I can’t even begin to explain how much we’ve learned since launching in October, from our product to our audience to fundraising. We’re about to close on our first raise of $1 million with a strategic investor. We’re incredibly excited about all of the ways we are going to be able to speed up our growth and improve our product now that we have the resources. Ultimately, with a great team and great investors, our goal is to grow our fan base to a point where in three years we are acquired by a large media conglomerate that would feature us in their portfolio as a strong digital sports platform.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
Realizing all of the ways that we can optimize our site and app, how we can improve the user experience and cater to the fans, but not being able to take those steps due to financial restrictions has been a challenge. A positive that has come from it, however, is that working as efficiently as possible in order to keep our momentum within our means, has made us become more creative and resourceful. We had been forewarned of the difficulties of fundraising and have now lived that. Making presentations with an engaged potential investor that doesn’t actually come through in the end, moving on to the next and keeping momentum until you finally land ‘the one’ that makes it happen has been a surreal process. Thankfully, we’ve made great contacts along the way, and it appears we’ve crossed the first big hurdle.
What remains the biggest obstacle?
We’re always watching out for old and new competitors in the powerful world of digital sports. You have to really know your environment to not only grow, but to survive in the constantly evolving arena, and to protect your territory. Speed is key.
Any last words?
Sports is my passion so the start-up journey in itself has been a dream. That said, our entire team is completely obsessed with reaching our goals and there is no option in our minds but to succeed. We’re thankful and confident that we’re well on our way given the current tracking in our growth.
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