Gary Hargraves, CEO of Sport:80, explains how his specialist platform can radically improve operations in sports communities.
Tell us all about your business, in 100 words or less…
Sport:80 is a cloud-based platform that transforms operations within International and National Governing Bodies of sport and their associated communities. It’s designed and built to address a specific need that enables greater economies and efficiencies, allowing vital and often scarce resources to be used much more effectively. Our objective is to unite the common interests of the sport sector for the operational, commercial and financial benefit of all stakeholders. At the core is membership management but with twelve other fully integrated modules, it’s so much more. Our first National Governing Body went live in October 2015 – we now have 30+ using the platform.
And how would you explain it to your Grandma?
Where did the idea come from? What motivated you to start your own business?
The idea came from working in the major sporting events sector and observing massive waste, with huge numbers of people processing data using paper, faxes and spreadsheets! Not to mention the financial and human resources wasted, this leads to far too many mistakes! We wanted to streamline the process by which teams enter major sporting events, and the business has grown from there. We want to encourage the industry to change by embracing our technology and ideals, and at the same time creating a lasting legacy that will support the industry for decades to come.
Have you raised finance so far? If so, how?
Yes, we have, but it wasn’t easy. Raising money never is! A mixture of high net worths and one small institutional investor.
What are your most and least favourite parts of your job?
We love our work and love the fact that so many people are buying in to our ethos. Our desire to support the industry comes across passionately when we speak to people and the recognition that brings validates our reason for being. At the same time this is the hardest part of our job, because changing attitudes takes time and can be challenging!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an automotive engineer, trucks specifically! And that is what I did. I became a Mercedes Benz master technician until I changed direction completely over 20 years ago.
How did it feel to be crowned one of TechNorth’s Northern Stars?
Great, simply great! Recognition is very rewarding especially when it comes from such prestigious quarters. We love telling our story and get a great buzz when people ‘get’ what we do. It’s very motivating.
Which of the prizes do you think will be of most value to you and your business?
We always find the most value in people and to have met so many like-minded winners that we can share ideas and experiences with is invaluable. Don’t get me wrong, Amazon credits and the like have a monetary value and that’s great but what young businesses really need is support, encouragement and reassurance. Our fellow winners and the TechNorth team are a great community to interact with and to draw strength from. That’s where the real value is.
What’s next for you, and where do you see your business in a year?
More of the same in 2018 as we look to increase our user base across the UK and USA, and hopefully into New Zealand and Australia.
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