sportr Drives For the Line
After closing a seed round, sportr founders Toby Cockayne and Adam Benzecrit are finding the time to work on themselves.
sportr founders Toby and Adam have had one thing on their mind recently: raising funding for their sports app startup. By the looks of it they have succeeded, on the back of significant interest from high-profile sports brands and well-renowned players. They have crossed the line with a substantial £250,000 seed round that provides the platform for them to grow. To do this, they needed all the motivation of an F1 Driver and concentration of a test batsman!
Until now, we have all been sifting through different media outlets, be it BBC Sports, CNN, ESPN, until we can get to the stuff we really want. This means we have to navigate through different sites with all their heavy content and images. Toby and Adam saw it differently. They realised that true sports fans follow a particular team, or a sportsperson, or event. What fans want most of all is a concentration of media from different sites, all easily available in one place.
Their journey began when creating a ‘Summly for sport’ in 2014, called SportsFix. The app was well received, placing Top-10 in the pan-European “Big App” competition, hosted by Worth Capital and Facebook. However, what the new investors have liked about the new business is combining the unique perspective on sports media with a pivot to a B2B proposition, sportr. The business now aggregates and summarises the latest sports content, offering a white-label service to create and enhance bespoke apps for sports brands, teams and players.
Sportr is a great example of how entrepreneurs work off something they are passionate about in their own lives to create something original. Fans will now be able to follow their favourite team or sports star, from a wide spectrum of media and different platforms, including text, audio and video.
However, what makes Toby and Adam such promising entrepreneurs (Toby is LSE Generate Entrepreneur of the Year!) is that they recognise that while this singular drive of closing the seed round is an important step, it isn’t sufficient to sustain and grow a viable business. Like all good sportsmen, they have been working on themselves and taking advantage of an innovative approach to mentoring provided by Pivomo.
Both founders completed the Dynamiqe psychometric instrument and the results are revealing. The results say a lot about the complexities of psychology and the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
From the profile charts of each founder, we can see that they are both (in the terminology used at Pivomo) “Dealers”; which means that they focus on networking, relationship building, generating a pipeline of commercial opportunities and deal-making. The profile is formed from combining a highly autonomous way of working with an ability to respond to emerging opportunities. There is nothing surprising here as the focus on securing investment is a natural priority. But given that both their current and future profile is preferenced towards being a “Dealer”, this picture is unlikely to change anytime soon. It is likely that the culture of sportr will be based on building relationships amongst the sporting community and creating a healthy deal pipeline.
However, when we look beneath the surface, some more interesting patterns emerge. Both founders have a contrasting supporting preference.
- In Toby’s case, it is for the Driver profile, which at Pivomo we define as the ability to conceive and articulate picture goals and set and drive for closure on targets.
- In Adam’s case, he has a supporting Creator profile. This is someone who has a deep immersion in the product and through experimentation perfects the product.
None of us is just a static picture of one type or another, but a complex blend of styles that evolves over time. Seeing our psycho-dynamics as a combination of both our primary and supporting profile is a much more accurate reflection of what is really going on for us in the fast-paced and complex world of the entrepreneur. While in sportr’s case there is an overriding business need for the Dealer profile to be prominent, the presence of other contrasting profiles enables both founders to access the critical behaviours needed for all round start up success.
The key challenges for Toby and Adam going forward will be to balance their continued focus on driving deal flow, with the agility to see the big picture while perfecting the user experience. This is what makes entrepreneurship so challenging as growing a venture requires so many multifaceted capabilities. The key is deciding what to prioritise and when, and not getting stuck in any one pattern.
The Dynamiqe psychometric tool can also help identify blind spots and potential long-term vulnerabilities. Notice that neither Toby nor Adam are currently preferenced towards the “Director” profile. In Pivomo language, the “Director” is the planful organiser, the business planner and market researcher, who builds team capability and often values collaboration with peers rather than through autonomous action. We can’t, and shouldn’t, try to focus on everything at any given moment. As sportr grows, the “Director” profile points to some of the scaleable organisational functions that will typically become more important to a operational business. Whether either founder develops these capabilities or whether this will influence future hiring time will tell. But at the moment, Toby and Adam are in a good place doing the right things, with complementary profiles that provide agility and diversity of approach.
Even successful and highly focused entrepreneurs such as Toby and Adam are taking time out to work on themselves and identify how they develop as entrepreneurs. What about you?
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