Sports365 steps up its game

Sports365 steps up its game, an exclusive sports portal, is close to raising $6 million in the next few weeks.

The round, which will see participation from previous investors, is said to be more or less complete. However, the founders, who were looking to raise between $5 million – $8 million, say they will wait a few weeks before closing it.

The Bengaluru-based online store now plans to bring on a stronger game backed by technology, to “create a portal with a lot of differentiation”. Sports365 sells sporting equipment through leading eCommerce websites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, and Paytm, besides its own website.

“Earlier, we have been frugal with our investment in technology. Now, we want to step up our game,” said Aashutosh Chaudhari, co-founder and vice president. “Our endeavour is to give very specific experiences to our customers for which we are going to invest in building a mobile presence, among others,” said Sekhar Chandra, co-founder and CEO. For this, the company plans to expand its technology team. “Our team is currently 85 strong, and we plan to double it in the next six months,” he said.

Plans separate portals

By the end of this year, the company is looking to launch separate portals for popular sports.

“Sporting equipment is fairly expensive. Customers would feel more comfortable if they were purchasing from a dedicated store that has all relevant products and information on display,” said Chaudhari. He added, “By December, we hope to launch individual portals for cycling, tennis, running, and outdoor.”

Through exclusive partnerships with brands like Hero Cycles, Wimbledon and Callaway, Sports365 has become their online channel partner. “Sports365 in a way has launched these brands online,” Chaudhari said. The company is in plans to bring international brands like Under Armor and Lululemon Athletica to India. “We are currently in talks to bring around 30 niche sports brands to India. Each is potentially a Rs 100-crore brand,” he said. Sales via partner platforms like Flipkart account for 40 per cent of the company’s sales. “The remaining is through our own channels,” says the CEO.

Backed by Mahesh Bhupati, who is an active director at Sports365, the startup has found ambassadors in Yuvraj Singh, Lara Dutta, and Dipika Pallikal. The company is looking at Rs 35 crore in revenues this year.  

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