With over 4 Years of experience in business execution coupled with 7 Years of his corporate journey, Varun Rao is a Co-founder at SportsUno, a premium sports Technology Company that provides technological hand-holding to sports businesses in India. N In the year 2016, he was recognised by Times Of India for his Entrepreneurial Mindset and approach for developing innovative technological solutions for the Sports Industry. His Company, SportsUno has been incubated by Nasscom (10,000 StartUps initiative 2020).
His love for entrepreneurship has been a constant driving force ever since he began his career. He enjoyed evaluating situations from a critical opportunity lens. Before co-founding SportsUno, Varun worked as a Consumer Research Consultant with leading research companies and garnered expertise in Primary (Quant –Qual) and Secondary Research with Grail Research and A.C. Nielsen Pvt. Ltd. He is an MBA with specialisation in Marketing & Finance.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Varun speaks about his journey with HelloPost Team:
- Tell us something about yourself and your company. What inspired you to start SportsUno?
I, Varun Rao, am the Co-founder and CEO at SportsUno Private Ltd. I have over 6 years of corporate experience, having worked with research & consulting companies such as AC Nielsen and Grail Insights. While working in the corporate sector, I along with 3 of childhood friends from school (DPS Noida), who are now my co-founders, started working on SportsUno and are now fulltime into this growing business.
Our sheer passion for sports and the zeal to have our own entrepreneurial venture motivated us to start something in the sports & fitness domain. However we were not keen on setting up any conventional sports business, instead wanted to do something that could have a positive impact and help sports development in India.
Being actively involved in this industry, we understood this area quite well and accordingly developed a solution that could not only digitize the space but could integrate all stakeholders on one common platform. Our vision at SportsUno is to create a Digital Sports Ecosystem that would help all the stakeholders, within this industry, to leverage the strengths of their peer stakeholders and grow their respective business.
- How has been your entrepreneur journey so far?
My entrepreneurial journey has been filled with learnings, fun, energy and ups & downs.
While working in your own setup has its perks in terms of creating the best working environment for your employees, working and enjoying with them. On the flip side, it also has certain bumps which I would say have made me learn how to function in multiple areas of the company and has brought me a long way in terms of knowledge to where I am today, versus from where I was when I started SportsUno
- What were the initial challenges that you have faced in your journey?
All co-founders coming from different occupational backgrounds, brought some skill to the table when we started this business, which helped us execute many operations in the right direction, thereby avoiding unnecessary wastage of time or money. However, being from a non-tech background, the only area we initially faced challenges was in creating our product and running it. However, our passion to do something lucrative in this area always fueled our passion to learn the technology side of the business and go the market in full swing.
- What has been your biggest achievement in this journey?
I believe we are yet to achieve our ‘biggest accomplishment’ in SportsUno. In the journey so far, we have tasted small delighters, such as being chosen by Nasscom for their 2020 batch of the 10,000 Startups initiative, onboarding of former Cricketer R.P. Singh who is working with us in creating the ‘Online Coaching Platform’ for sports & fitness businesses to reinitiate their business during these lockdown days.
- As the nation grapples with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you see any major impact in your sports technology industry? How the sports technology market is set to rise amidst this pandemic?
With the pandemic heavily impacting the sports & fitness industry globally, ‘Digitization’ is going to be one of the prime solutions for the sports & fitness industry to revive from this slowdown. Apart from the traditional mode of training, online classes are now going to be the ‘new normal’ going forward. Owing to the lockdown, the end-customers (may it be adults or children) all have now understood the importance of technology and are using technology day-in-day-out to execute various functions like attending office meetings, school classes, buying groceries, etc. This higher acceptance and dependency towards technology has also seen a surge in the Sports & Fitness technology domain. Sports & Fitness Business owners are now increasingly using Technology to digitize business, and with time this market will further grow.
The global sports technology market, before the pandemic was valued at USD 5.4 billion, growing at a CAGR of 14.87%, was estimated to reach USD 15.27 billion dollars by 2027. However, with the increased shift towards sports technology, these numbers would definitely further rise.
- Who inspires you?
There is a lot to learn in this entrepreneurial journey, and any entrepreneur working passionately to make a business successful, through the right means, is a one who would inspire me. There is a lot to learn from entrepreneurs of every business size. Each one of them has faced challenges in their journey and how they have triumphed over these challenges is what is inspiring.
- What are your future plans?
My goal is to grow SportsUno and scale it to new heights. Create a platform that can not only benefit the stakeholders of the Sports & fitness ecosystem but also provide growth opportunities to all those who join us in this journey of ours.