Aug. 21--Given the increasing popularity of e-commerce and the effectiveness of online retail in delivering a variety of products at lower cost, entrepreneurs are launching companies that are aimed at sports lovers. We profile five fledging companies that are riding on this wave
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy
ENTREPRENEUR -- Vivek Kumar, Nikhil Rai and Nikhil Jha
FIRM: Wave Sports Pvt. Ltd
SET UP IN: October 2010
When a bunch of sports fanatics graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and took up jobs, they realized they could not easily organize sports activities the way they did it in college.
"I felt a huge void in my lifestyle because I couldn't find any grounds or clubs to play in, neither did I know enough sports enthusiasts around for me to organize stuff with," said Nikhil Jha, co-founder of SportsWave. He added that they realized there were a lot of other people thinking on similar lines.
This was how Vivek Kumar, Nikhil Rai and Jha founded the online social website called sportswave.co.in in 2010. Srikumar Nair, a friend from college, joined SportsWave ?as another partner in July 2012.
According to Kumar, the Delhi-based start-up does both the things that hinder people from engaging in sports these days: meeting people who are interested in similar activities; and the ability to find and organize events and matches for the community.
As part of the project, they are also building sports centres across metropolitans to encourage individual preferences of gaming activities. They have two centres in Gurgaon, and plan to soon open multiple centres across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore.
SportsWave, which now has almost 5,000 subscribers, was started with savings from the three entrepreneurs. They are still self-funded.
Living your sport, quite literally
ENTREPRENEUR: Siddharth Suchde
FIRM: Live Your Sport Retail Pvt. Ltd
SET UP IN: October 2011
Professional squash champion Siddharth Suchde realized there was a gap in the Indian market for an online firm that could focus solely on selling sporting goods and equipment. In 2011, he went on to launch an e-commerce company, Live Your Sport, which does just that.
"I think a lot of this idea stemmed from my background in sports, and a lot happened by accident too. When I had this idea, I got orders from clubs to print club shirts and tees. The response was great, so we continued," said Suchde.
Suchde ran this Bangalore-based company part-time, whenever he got breaks from professional competitions, but decided to take up this venture full-time in 2012.
Liveyoursport.com has equipment for almost all the sports, and also takes part in infrastructure-building projects like building volleyball courts, etc. The company has not raised external funding as yet. It has undertaken four projects in this category, and has around 40,000 shoppers. Customers mostly shop for racquet sports (games where players use rackets to hit a ball such as squash and lawn tennis) cricket and running, said Suchde.
Suchde acknowledged that his website is a "work in progress, so there is a lot more to do before it becomes a pure place for sports e-commerce". Of course, he also has to contend with big established e-commerce companies like
Bitten by the sports bug
ENTREPRENEUR: Porush Jain
FIRM: Absolute Sports Pvt. Ltd
SET UP IN: August 2009
Bitten by the sports bug, Porush Jain started Sportskeeda where people could blog about sporting activities happening across the globe.
To kick-off the launch, Jain created the basic website and submitted 20 articles himself. Today, the website has almost six million unique user visits, with dozens of contributors who write sports-related content.
"India did not have any online news platform dedicated to sports. I wanted to build th