BookBall is an online booking platform for sports facilities.
Briefly explain your business/business concept and the problem it aims to solve:
BookBall is an online booking platform for sports facilities. Through our website you will be able to search for sports facilities around you, book them, and pay online.
How did you come up with this idea?
The idea for BookBall was conceived through my own frustrations with playing sports in London over the past few years that I have been living here. It was just so hard to book a football pitch each week that I thought there had to be a better way to do it than phoning up venues or emailing them. But there wasn't. It remained an idea until I heard about the CitySpark competition. In order to plan for the competition, I enlisted the help of my friend Henry, with whom I often like to discuss my ideas. We ended up creating the foundation for the BookBall idea together during that planning phase, and after winning the competition decided to try and pursue it together.
What stage is your business currently at, and what are your plans moving forward?
We are currently close to finishing a first version of the product. We plan to launch by the end of the summer and start very small, growing organically through the student network in London, and tailoring the product according to the feedback we get from our early customers. From this, we hope to prove our worth to our business partners around London (the sports centers) and improve our platform through features enabled by stronger relationships with them.
What do you feel are your three biggest successes with your business so far?
Winning both stages of the CitySpark competition has been a massive boost for us. The money we received has gone a long way in developing the product and helping us set the foundations to change the grassroots sports industry. The second biggest success would be creating the functioning back-end of the product, which was a huge task undertaken single-handedly by my co-founder Henry (even though he taught himself how to code). The third is being accepted into City Launch Lab, which has been a massive help and will allow us to grow with great support from the wonderful people at the incubator.
How was being a student at City helped you to develop your idea?
Without being a student at City I would not have been able to start this business! I had the idea, but it was constant pushing from my tutor Professor Caroline Wiertz that made me do something about it - which I am very grateful to her for. Then each round of CitySpark catalysed us to think about the project, develop a business plan, and make something. The team at CityStarters are incredible and have helped us so much - you always feel as if they want you to succeed, and they are always there to give advice and encouragement.
What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurial students at City?
Only work on an idea that you are really passionate about. There will be plenty of times, even early on, that you will doubt your capabilities in building the business, so you need that belief that you are making something that will help people in some way to keep you going.
If you are seeking help or investment - let us know what you need to help your business grow?
We are potentially looking for a technical co-founder who will help Henry with the programming of the site. We want someone who loves sports, and is passionate about changing the way people play sports in London. As this is our ultimate goal.