From handball during school days to national level tennis tournaments in college, life for Ujwal Sutaria always revolved around sports.
Even though the digital revolution was setting in other walks of life, one common complaint from everyone he knew in the sports circuit was the lack of information on sports venues in their neighbourhoods and a missed opportunity of booking them for playing during leisure time. This information was easily available though when it came to restaurants and movies.
Owing to his passion for sports, Ujwal invested almost four years to in-depth research on finding a viable solution to this issue. Finally, a concrete idea started shaping up during his days at IIM Ahmedabad and ‘Athletto’ was formed. “My enthusiasm for starting up in the sports sector was further fuelled when I began working in Gurugram and couldn’t find places to play,” says Ujwal.
Along with his classmate Narayan Vyas and friend Praveen Gadpayle, all of whom share a passion for sports, fitness and technology, Ujwal came up with this unique concept.
The startup helps people search and book sports and fitness facilities, coaching services and tournaments around them. “We are trying to organise this completely unorganised sports sector which is valued really high in Asia. Our aim is to build a whole new industry at the grassroots level in sports,” explains Ujwal.
For anyone looking to play, ‘Athletto’ provides them with detailed information about each facility which includes real photographs, coach information, prices, timings, contact details, map, ratings and reviews. For the venue owner, it creates an online identity and provides a business app and dashboard to help them manage the facility listing, booking, membership and coaching services.
Available as an app on Play Store and App Store and through the website, it functions in a simple manner. First, one needs to ‘search’ for the sport and venue of their choice, then ‘book’ by checking the availability and paying online through Paytm or other mediums and then happily ‘play’ by getting a confirmed time to play without any hassles. As Ujwal states, “You can pay as you play. There is no need to be members of a particular club or facility which goes unutilised. We really want to make sports a lifestyle habit and build a community of like-minded sports and fitness enthusiasts.”
So how have things shaped up for the trio? “Our efforts have paid off immensely. ‘Athletto’ has listed more than 10,000 facilities across eight cities in India and more than 500 are available for booking in Bengaluru itself. We have facilitated around two lakh people to play through our services in the past one-and-a-half years of our operation,” gushes Ujwal.
They have worked with the likes of Bengaluru Football Club (BFC), Olympic medal winner Gagan Narang’s Gun for Glory Shooting Academy, Vijay Amritraj’s Champions Tennis League, IOT Arsenal Soccer School, FCBEscola and many others.
The startup plans to expand its operations to four more cities across India in the coming year and make sports and fitness easily accessible for everyone.