How to net the power of football fans
Dominating the pitch
June 12th 2017
Just ten innovative businesses were chosen for the inaugural Virgin Media Business Accelerator. Their ideas were vastly different, but they shared bags of enthusiasm, a hard work ethic and the enterprising nous it takes to succeed. So, six months on, how are they faring? Follow this ten-part series to find out.
Imagine an app for footballs clubs at any level, on which supporters can share commentary, photos, statistics and vote for their Player of the Match, while syncing their activity to Facebook and Twitter.
Six months since the Accelerator, GoalShouter is doing just that - enriching the soccer experience for fans around the world regardless of their club’s status. The idea hasn’t just struck a chord with football-mad supporters, co-founder Daniele Galiffa is delighted the app recently scored investment in the region of £400,000.
Daniele says, “We are a platform to make sports data consumption and production easier for everyone. On the GoalShouter app users can transmit, follow and share virtually everything happening in a match, with the capability to create rich graphic content and statistical reports. Uptake has been fantastic, with fans downloading GoalShouter in the UK, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and elsewhere. Besides amateur clubs, we have collaborated with professional clubs, federations and leagues as well.”
"Firstly, if you start focusing too much on the competition, you are not doing your best for your customers. We really believe the most important thing is giving the customer the product and service they deserve"
Giving sponsors an online presence
Over 20 British clubs are using GoalShouter. They include Stafford Rangers, Basingstoke Town FC and Stamford AFC, with more signing up every month.
First founded in 2013, GoalShouter had already been operating for a few years before last year’s Accelerator. Yet the scheme proved extremely beneficial and took the Milan-based startup to the next level.
“We became a lot more efficient,” says Daniele. “We also had access to valuable resources, thanks to the Accelerator’s sponsors. While speaking to Virgin Media Business about how to leverage local audiences we realised that fans of non-professional clubs were engaging in social media during matches in a very basic way - over Twitter for example. The beauty of GoalShouter is that 70% of revenue for non-league clubs comes from sponsorship, which is mainly seen offline. We offer a way for the sponsors to have a presence online, therefore making clubs even more attractive to them and doing away with the need for a subscription model, which slowed uptake of the app.”
A love of sport inspires everything at GoalShouter. The ten-strong team are currently working on some fun new assets, which are being kept tightly under wraps.
Daniele says, “Of course we are always developing new things, but we can’t disclose them all. Something I can mention is our work to generate content in second languages, as well as the bot we are working on to generate really impressive graphics. All of us love working for GoalShouter and we have a strong culture of collaboration between not only our team members, but partners and customers. We don’t like to run behind competitors. Our preference is to keep focused on the value we generate for our customers.”
Punching above their weight
GoalShouter has two main revenue streams. They license their technology to professional clubs, brands, leagues and media, and also sell digital-sponsorship of the live-match coverage.
Yet even with an impressive six-figure investment supplementing turnover, running a startup such as GoalShouter is not without its challenges. Everything from staffing and turnover to offices and IT must be handled by a small team, which in GoalShouter’s case is already punching well above its weight.
Daniele says, “Right now our biggest challenge is to run faster. By that I mean progressing the reach of GoalShouter and what it offers in the shortest possible time. Retaining the clubs and fans we have already is massively important. Giving them more functionality and the best possible service is key to making sure they stay.”
It gets even better. Unlike traditional telecommunications services, Cloud Voice operates on a licence-based model, so you pay a fixed monthly fee based on your usage – there are no nasty surprises.
Moving telephony and call handling to a single, hosted, managed network makes it easier to predict budgets. And that’s the kind of freedom that allows you to grow, disrupt, surprise and thrive.
Tim says, “We’re creating cost certainty for businesses on their telecoms spend. Previously an organisation would have to buy a PBX regardless of whether they had 200 employees or 2000. With the scale and agility of a cloud-based PBX, a business only needs to buy as many licences as it has employees. It’s easy to scale up or down, so you can respond quickly to the unexpected.”
Make your own mistakes
With a busy football season ahead, Daniele and his colleagues are poised for more rapid growth at GoalShouter. As for advice for other startups, he has a hat-trick of wisdom to minimise the risk of own-goals.
“Firstly, if you start focusing too much on the competition, you are not doing your best for your customers. We really believe the most important thing is giving the customer the product and service they deserve. Secondly, don’t be too shy to ask for help. When you are starting out you need people to support you. Thirdly, make your own mistakes. There are a lot of startups out there. Some succeed. Some don’t. You’ll never know unless you try and even if one business doesn’t work out, you’ll learn something useful for your next attempt.”
Congratulations to Daniele and the rest of the team.