Spontly is a plaform for building social apps for existing communities. Our main markets are football, rugby, golf, tennis and leisure clubs where we deliver the latest news, fixtures, results and forums.
Being club specific allows us to tap into the tribal nature of sports fans. Tribal behaviour is deeply ingrained within the human psyche and plays a powerful role in community cohesion. Each community has its own app and website branded with team colours and shirts giving fans a sense of belonging and ownership.
Our network is growing quickly with over 120,000 monthly active users across the apps and 2.5 million pageviews a month on the websites.
We have demonstrated the ability to drive deep growth for a particular community. In the case of Rangers FC with circa 10,000 monthly active users.
In all we have over 200 communities including the B2B leisure, tennis and golf club apps. The fans give us very high NPS scores and customer satisfaction scores.
Our aim is build the largest network of sports fans on the planet. We have a custom product for each community that leads to strong engagement with our target audience. An aggregated back-end and database solution means we can offer sponsorship, advertising and marketing solutions right across the network.
Right now there is a significant opportunity to improve the fan experience especially around user-generated content on mobile. We have found that the market is currently highly fragmented with lots of forum sites each with different formats and owned by different people. There is lack of such sites that offer a decent mobile experience and we can migrate these users to our mobile first experience. This consolidation of the market allows us to satisfy customers but would also to do deals with large brands that previously could not work with the small scale nature of forum sites despite the desirable demographics of the audience.
As Spontly grows we are finding that the number of fans with more than one of the Spontly apps is growing. Fans often download multiple apps due to geographic location e.g. a number Leeds United Football fans also have the Leeds Rhino's Rugby League app and many football club app users also have their national team app. In this way we anticipate becoming the platform of choice for community apps over time.
Translation to different languages would allow us to scale into a new market and expand rapidly. As most of our content is either algorithmically aggregated, from data feeds or user generated there is relatively little to translate.
As the product is designed to scale in terms of the number of apps, the size of the audience on each app and the territories we can operate in we believe we have a product that will have a global impact.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Spontly released the first app on the scalable platform in December 2014 and then focussed on improving the platform.
We have come a long way in the last 18 months and have over 200 apps running on the platform which is proving very stable.
The communities have grown to 120,000 monthly active users and our fans give us very high net promoter scores and customer satisfaction scores.
We believe we have a strong team behind the product that really understand the market. We know what we need to do in order to make this good product great.
Spontly's technology allows us to scale rapidly. We have built proprietary software which enables us to build apps quickly through largely automated processes. We have the ability to update and submit hundreds of apps as part of a highly efficient process where changes are reflected across the entire portfolio.
We have demonstrated early scalable revenue from multiple channels.
Spontly has 2 different elements to the business model. In both cases our apps are always free to download as this reduces the barrier to entry for new customers. It gives us access to the customer right away so that we can communicate with them and keep them engaged.
Our B2B apps are sold on a SaaS basis and the average revenue per customer is £75 pcm.
Revenue from our B2C (fan apps) stems from advertising, sponsorship and affiliate relationships.
Advertising - We currently use adverts served from ad networks which is easy to implement but low value. We will move over time to selling the advertising space directly and we expect this will significantly increase the revenue.
Sponsorship - We have just launched our sponsorship offering and have sold £2500 of space in the first couple of weeks. There is currently £15000 available for sale each month.
Betting - Currently we supply traffic to betting affiliate programs but are looking for an ongoing higher value relationship with a betting company.
Fantasy Sports - This is a growing and valuable space and we are looking to form a strong ongoing sponsorship deal with a partner.
Food and Drink - We have built a food and drink ordering module part financed by an award from UKTI that we have been live testing with the Newcastle Falcons at their home games. Food and Drink can be ordered from within the apps and then collected from a fast track collection isle. We take a percentage of every order that is purchased via the app.
SaaS - We charge a monthly fee to smaller customers where we are unable to make sufficient revenue from other channels. This typically applies to leisure club, tennis clubs and golf clubs currently but can be utilised for any type of club in time. Average revenue is £75 pcm.
Use of proceeds
We will be using funds predominantly to sustain the business whilst we increase the revenue. Whilst most of our cost will remain the same we are looking to invest in growing our sales team as our focus now shifts to revenue.
A further investment into better data will be made to improve the quality of the commentary and player statistics in the apps; highly requested by our fans.
The next main strategic aim for the business is to become profitable so that we can organically fund our own growth as we expand. /
Ultimately our target market is all sports fans right across the entire globe for B2B and any type of club for B2C. Right now are focus is UK football and rugby, golf, tennis & leisure clubs.
The next steps will be to target other English speaking countries with football and rugby apps and keep growing the B2B market share in the existing markets.
Initial countries targeted for football and rugby expansion are the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
In due course we will move on to more sports to include Australian Rules, Basketball, Baseball, Cricket, Hockey and more quite possibly any team sports anywhere in the world!
Multiple languages would be the next logical step to unlock new markets for us so we can grow extremely quickly. We have already tested our existing pre-launch marketing approach in Italian and it has shown the same results as in the UK.
Characteristics of target market
Numbers of fans of each top sport:
Soccer 3.5 Billion.
Cricket 2.3 Bil.
Hockey 2.2 Bil.
Volleyball 900 Mil.
Baseball 500 Mil.
Basketball 450 Mil.
Rugby 400 Mil.
American Football 400 Mil.
Clubs / venues in the UK:
Tennis - 4,118.
Golf - 1,954.
Leisure Clubs - 6,312.
Hockey - 1,050.
Current market can be segmented into 4 broad categories.
Official club sites:
No user generated content that we know of.
News sites e.g. BBC:
No user generated content that we know of
Dominated by the top 5/6 clubs.
Forum sites (typically owner run as a hobby):
These are club specific and offer user generated content but as they are hobbies rather then businesses often have poor data (if any). As most are built on forum software we have found they generally offer a very poor mobile experience.
Social Networks (broad like Facebook/Twitter and narrow like Sports Lobster):
Allow for user generated content but because they are by their very nature a mixing pot of all fan we believe they can lead to a lot of trolling and an unpleasant community atmosphere.
To date we have grown with virtually no marketing spend. We build a social media presence for each app using our own proprietary tools. To date we have built an audience of over a million Twitter followers and a hundred thousand Facebook likes across the 200 different apps. From this social presence we can then drive app installs. We believe this method is highly scalable, deeply integrated into our core offering and an extremely cheap method of driving installs.
Good app store optimisation helps keep us highly placed in both the app stores (App Store and Google Play).
Virality and word of mouth have a significant impact on the growth of each app. We make it easy for fans to invite their friends to install the app and hence grow the community further.
Paid advertising - we have experimented with different channels of paid advertising. Facebook has so far proven the most cost effective where we are able to drive app installs for an average of 28p.
In our first 18 months we have taken a significant section of market, growing to over 120,000 Monthly Active Users. As the product has improved so has user engagement, with a few more improvements we anticipate growing even faster in the new season.
Where we have focused on driving a community to grow to a good scale we have been very successful. We set out to drive engagement at Glasgow Rangers FC and have built the community there up to circa 10,000 monthly active users on the app. We believe that this will grow further still and that we can replicate it across many other clubs.
Spontly has the market leading product and with a mobile first strategy. We are in a very good position to leverage the opportunity as more traffic becomes mobile and tablet based.
A strong investment into scalable technology has made it cheap for us to build new communities on the platform. We can set up a new app with circa 2 hours work on the actual build.
Its hard for existing forums to compete as they are typically owner managed sites that are based on free software and make little money so they cannot afford to build or indeed support expensive mobile apps.
We can do this because we operate at scale and therefore spread the cost across a lot of apps. We expect to reach a scale where we can deal with large sponsors which small forum sites will never be able to do.
Social networks are notoriously hard to build but are also very hard to displace once built. This provides us with a very strong barrier to entry for competitors especially once the communities get to a decent size.