Globally, we estimate 380,000 - 480,000 small-to-medium (50 - 5,000 racers) distance-based, sporting events annually. These are made up of running, cycling, swimming and multi-sport events. Continued growth of this market is reflected locally in the 240% increase in cycling events and 63% increase in triathlons participation in the 5 years ending in 2014.
Unlike the large event market (6,000 - 50,000 racers), where there are complex tools to suit their needs, we found that services for the smaller event market are far more limited. In a ‘make-do’ approach, the majority cobble together a mix of tools for setup, marketing, comms and event management. The outcome is often high cost, time consuming and low quality.
Race Space is one of the first end-to-end event management tools designed specifically for the needs of this underserved event market. We include the tools, features and processes specific to organiser needs throughout the event lifecycle, delivered in a single intuitive, beautiful platform.
Despite its rapid growth, there are few fit-for-purpose platforms specifically designed for this market. Those that do exist are either for mass-participation events, or deliver only a portion of what is needed, so end up costing more in time and money to event organisers. This is felt locally, but also globally, with many regions in the world even more under-served than the UK market. We estimate the value of the global, distance-based sporting event market at £4.5B per year, generating a potential £370M in transaction fees. With the lack of focus on this market, there is a huge opportunity to establish a strong market presence and strong revenue base.
GENERAL MARKET IMPACT
Race Space’s success will have an impact across multiple market segments: for both event organisers (Organisers) and event entrants (Racers).
For the Organiser, we put the power of enterprise level event management solutions into their hands. This means:
- Less time spent managing events
- Less platforms to be managed
- Increased number of participants and more events selling out
- Increased revenue and earlier cash flow
- Reduction in outlay.
We also hope that this ease will encourage existing Organisers to create more events annually and open up the potential for new Organisers to create and manage their own events.
For Racers, we make it easy to find events, as current event databases make it hard to find out which event is right for them. By making it easier to find events, we hope to increase the number of events an average Racer participates in annually. With our modern identity and experience, we intend to extend the small-to-medium sized event participation base to include those who currently only consider the ‘big name’ events, and also those that are too nervous to try their very first.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Race Space isn't just an idea, it’s a functioning online ecosystem. Here is a snippet of our story so far.
- Idea conceived, then research and due diligence completed in 2015.
- Raised £75K through ‘friends & family’ round for proof of concept and to underpin initial growth.
- Built a small, highly experienced & dedicated team.
- Launched live site in March 2016 via pilot program to learn from data driven feedback.
In the ensuing 6 months we have, with negligible marketing budget:
- Hosted 108 events with another 24 being planned (not including external pipeline).
- Processed over 1600 Tickets.
- Demonstrated revenue earning from day one.
Race Space charges retail at 6.25% + £0.42 in fees (exc VAT) for every ticket sold. This will be the main revenue stream throughout the life of Race Space. However as we grow, we plan on including additional streams, which we expect to uplift our main revenue by up to 30%.
Over the next 6 - 12 months, we will be introducing many new features. Some of these are designed to create additional revenue opportunities for our organisers:
- Merchandise sold by organisers
- Sale of event photos
- Ticket refund / transfer premiums
- Charitable donations.
Once Race Space has met a point of critical mass, the opportunities afforded by an active eco-system of both organisers and participants will allow for additional revenue potential:
- Club subscription management
- Enterprise / API
Use of proceeds
This investment will be used in the following breakdown:
SALES / MARKETING - approximately 40%
The largest part of the budget will be to sales and marketing where we’ll be investing in making Race Space known in the market and on-boarding new Organisers. With every new Organiser on-boarded we get a large number of participants and users, so little investment will be made in on-boarding individual participants.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT - approximately 35%
Our learnings this far have shaped our development plan and we’ll be continuing to develop new features and optimising existing ones to make us an even stronger proposition for Organisers as well as open up new revenue streams.
MISCELLANEOUS OVERHEADS - approximately 25%
While we build up revenues to a sustainable revenue we will be using part of the investment for business sustainment.
Race Space aims to become a predominant player in a fractured and undervalued market, established first in the UK before expanding into new markets.
Our primary customer type are Organisers, and while their needs are similar, approach and identity can be varied. Organiser types vary from part-timers, to clubs, to charities to professional race directors: both individual and company based.
Globally we estimate there to be 95,000 - 120,000 regular Organisers (at least one event per year) with 2,500 - 3,500 here in the UK, with a number of others too small to be registered, or who may begin to create events with technology like Race Space available. Globally, we estimate ticket and related event sales revenue to be in the region of £4.5B. The size and value of an Organiser can vary greatly. The following are some averages:
Smaller Organiser (mostly clubs): 1 event per year, 400 participants, £10 ticket price. Resulting in £420 value and 400 potential new users.
Small Organiser: 3 events per year, 800 participants per event, £18 ticket price. Resulting in £3,700 value and 1,800 potential new users.
Medium Organiser: 10 events per year, 900 participants per event, £23 ticket price. Resulting in £16,700 value and 4,500 potential new users.
Larger Organiser: 20 events per year, 1,000 participants, £30 ticket price. Resulting in £45,900 value and 10,000 potential new users.
Characteristics of target market
The fitness market is growing in all areas, and endurance sports are no different. This is emphasised by the 63% increase in triathlons participation and 240% more cycling sportives in the UK in 2015, compared to 2009.
The event management software (all types of event management) market is expected to continue to grow locally and internationally in line with the general trend and as the accessibility of events through platforms like Race Space becomes easier. By 2020 it is expected to be valued at USD$9.3B, an increase of over 200% on the 2015 market valuation. Race Space plans to carve a small, but strong niche in this growing market, servicing first UK and then more regions in the small-to-medium sized event market.
In our view the endurance event management market is severely under-served, highly fragmented and wide open for innovative technology to make a real impact and secure a solid market share.
We estimate that there are 95,000 - 120,000 small-to-medium sized event organisers globally, with 2,500 - 3,500 here in the UK currently. With a concentrated pool of potential customers our marketing strategy can be highly targeted and budget efficient.
Access to key data like decision maker’s details are readily available using the listings sites available currently, and we’ve already sourced a large majority of those details for the UK.
Our communication strategy via all channels will be driven by comparative values against competitor products, where for most there is a clear and strong benefit and the main challenge will be in the education of that value to the point where a system change becomes viable.
With the information on hand and a communication strategy in place, our short-to-medium reach strategy is relatively straightforward:
Direct contact via phone has proven effective so far and will underpin our initial on-boarding strategy.
CONTENT MARKETING - EMAIL
Mass marketing mixed content marketing using benefits, comparisons and industry insights creates to opportunities. Direct conversions, and brand recognition for later direct sale conversion.
With the smaller community, we believe that our growth will be self perpetuating. Where organisers often speak to each other and attend others events, we believe, and will help push, our customers to be brand ambassadors.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Our direct efforts will also be supported by the usual suspects: Social Media, SEO, SEM, PR etc.
A large majority of our target market cobble together a myriad of services to meet their requirements, and few are directly comparable. However we consider any company that accepts ticket payments a competitor.
Listing sites represent the most heavily used competition for small-to-medium events. They create value in the high number of event searches they get from Racers. Features are limited and usually of a low quality. Organisers will need to use other services for comms and racer, photo &, timing management.
Success against this type will be in communicating comparative value, especially against those more expensive than us. We expect there will be a tipping point when Race Space gets a comparative amount of searches, at which point, the limited nature of the competitors will mean they become obsolescent.
GENERIC TICKET REGISTRATION
These platforms are the same as the listings sites, with the exception that they have advanced, but generic features associated with ticketing and are generic across any ticketing industry.
As our feature set grows, this competitor type will be less able to compete as they need to focus on generic solutions to ticketing only across all ticketing markets. As our ticketing features grow on top of niche focussed requirements, these competitors will become less and less relevant.
These larger systems often come with a high price point and minimums which put it out of the reach of many event organisers and is designed for the needs of larger events, which often comes with hard to use or understand bloatware that is simply not needed for our market.
This competitor type focuses more on the mass participation events. Success against this competitor type will be in focussing on the needs and processes of the smaller event market, leaving the big events to them.