The Golf Technology Platform – Changing the Golf Experience
VPAR is changing the golf experience for amateurs through their leading technology platform.
Our first product was a live scoring service; giving amateur golfers the ability to see where they stand on a live leaderboard on course, in the clubhouse and online - something only previously available to Tiger and Rory.
Today, we're much, much more. Running thousands of tournaments across 22 countries, we supply Live Scoring to some of the most recognised brands and world renowned golf courses. These events expose our brand to thousands of golfers every year and lay the foundations for the growth of our app. We now have 200,000 app users, growing at more than 4,000 a week during the golf season (peaking at 8,000 in a single week)*.
VPAR is a phenomenon, revolutionising the golf experience.
Going forward we will continue to connect golfers, enabling them to track their progress and experience playing and scoring like the pros; inspiring and motivating them to compete day in, day out.
VPAR’s mission is to become the number 1 technology brand in golf.
We want to revolutionise the world of golf and bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. We want to maintain the best of golf's traditions and integrate the best of our technology to help make the game more enjoyable, more inclusive and better for everyone.
Through the promotion of new, shorter game formats we hope to increase the number of people picking up the game, particularly amongst millennials and women - two groups where we see a real opportunity to expand player numbers.
Many golf clubs are under opposing pressures to get as many paying golfers through their doors as possible whilst maintaining a rapid pace of play. Simultaneously, they must be more innovative, better value, and more professional.
VPAR's club technology aims to help clubs to solve these problems and more.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Live scoring achievements.
• One of the leading providers of Live Golf Scoring in Europe and the USA.
• Over 500,000 golfers have experienced VPAR since 2011.
• Supplied events for The PGA Tour, The LPGA Tour, The European Tour, The Ladies European Tour and the R&A.
• Supplied tournaments in 22 countries in 2016.
• Scored our 1st PGA Tour event in 2016 - PNC Father Son Challenge.
• Growing at up to 8,400 downloads in one week with an average of 4,000 per week during golf season* with up to 44% being driven organically.
• 200,000 downloads and over 30,000 MAUs during the golf season*.
• Winner of Best Sports App at the Sports Technology Awards beating Chelsea FC and The Wimbledon Championships.
• App trialed at the 2016 World’s Largest Golf Outing – (https://www.worldslargestgolfouting.com/northea...)
• Deal on the table to supply whole tournament in 2017. The 2016 tournament had over 12k golfers across 132 courses and this should be even bigger.
• BETA Launched in Jan 2016, full launch in Jan 2017. We are seeing huge demand for this product.
• Clubs love VPAR for the enhanced experience it offers their customers and because it makes their events so much easier to manage.
• Clubs are now able to offer the VPAR system to every golfer that steps onto the tee, be it Corporate, Member, or Guest.
• We are compatible with GHIN (US official handicap supplier) and CONGU (UK official handicap supplier) to integrate our handicap software. Feature roll out for 2017 season.
• We intend to greatly increase the number of events and tournaments that we supply.
• Access to exclusive events.
• Tournament concierge.
• Premium news.
• Unlocked app features.
• Discounts off VPAR products.
• Fees for premium challenges
Merchandise & Products.
In app VPAR store potentially selling:
• Golf products, services & experiences from the big brands.
• Golf Insurance.
• Tee-time booking.
• Golfing holidays and experiences.
• In-app advertising.
• Data partnerships.
• Feature sponsorship.
Yearly fee and upgrade features:
• Tournament creation and management.
• Registration and pairing tools.
• Leaderboards technology (App and Clubhouse).
• Tournament websites.
• Rich player data.
• Print functions.
• International Handicap Database integration.
• Pace of play data.
• Messaging to confirmed club members.
• Member scoring and stats data.
• Messaging to local golfers.
Use of proceeds
The continued development of the iOS and Android apps and their underlying services is essential to VPAR's continued growth. It enables us to respond to the demands of our core user base and create new features to appeal to entirely new members.
We also intend to further develop the Club Platform, which we expect to stimulate uptake and encourage club pros to promote the app and the VPAR brand.
Therefore we will be looking to further expand the technology and product team - growing the number of engineers, designers and user experience professionals to help deliver the extensive product roadmap.
We’ll also significantly expand our marketing activity to accelerate our golfer and club acquisition and improve our long term brand awareness. Using online channels has been a key measurable method for VPAR to attract and retain golfers to the platform - especially social media. We will continue to invest in these.
Please note that the company currently has £774k in director debt with £500k of this structured as a convertible loan to the director. The funds raised will not be used to pay these loans and the valuation accounts for the possible dilutive effect of the convertible loan.
*Golf season: 06/06/2016 - 22/10/2016
We target customers in every segment of the golf industry; tournament organisers, club members, golf courses and, in particular, passionate golfers looking to improve or enhance their enjoyment of the game. There are over 60 million people worldwide who already love and play golf regularly.
Stuffy members’ clubs and paper scorecards are a reflection on an industry that has been slow to adapt to progress. Our technology satisfies not only the traditionalist but a new, demanding, modern golf fan who’s emerging.
“We are moving quickly towards a world in which digital technology is ubiquitous, even in emerging markets, and these technologies are rapidly becoming mobile, local and social.” - HSBC Golf 2020 Vision Report.
These new golf fans play video games, are used to technology being central in every aspect of life, come from broader cultural backgrounds and aspire to be like and follow their favourite Pro golfer on social media. Even in golf-mad USA, less than 20% of its 25.1 million golfers have an official handicap - previously only available to club members.The new generation are looking for status and inclusiveness in the game without the expense or inconvenience of being tied to a single club.
"Youth playing the game has increased by 20% from 2.5 million in 2010 to 3 million in 2015. An estimated 6.3 million millennials play and they are playing often, an average of nearly 15 rounds per year." - Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner, quoted in Forbes 2016 about the US.
Characteristics of target market
The golf industry has an economic impact, of roughly $177 billion a year, around £2 billion of which is in the UK - 7% of GVA attributed to all sports. The impact is deemed big enough in fact that the UK parliament had a specific debate to discuss its value to the UK economy. In the US, golf contributes about $4 billion of charitable giving alone, estimated to be more than NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA combined.
"Golf is so much more than just a game. It is a significant industry, a major contributor to the American economy. GOLF 20/20 published its first national report in 2002, which demonstrated that golf in 2000 was a $62 billion industry, a bigger job creator than spectator sports, performing arts, and the amusement and recreation industries." - World Golf Foundation Golf 20/20 Report.
When you look at each product and the potential market scale, there are hundreds of thousands of golf events (over 140,000 charity tournaments in the US alone) for our Tournament Live Scoring Service, 30,000+ courses for our Club Platform and over 60 million active participants in the game to become app users.
Golf attracts a highly affluent demographic. VPAR’s technology directly falls into a major consumer spend bucket in the industry with around $5.6 billion a year (just in the US) being spent on golf equipment, clothing and accessories - which the app sits in.
The key objectives for VPAR are to:
1. Grow our app community.
2. Increase the number of courses who integrate our club software.
3. Provide our Live Scoring Service to more tournaments.
4. Democratise the golf handicap.
5. Become the number 1 technology brand in golf.
Growth in each objective, feeds growth in the other areas of the business by design, through functional overlap, creating a virtuous cycle.
We will continue the growth of our app community via a mixture of online marketing activity, organic growth (currently 44% of app user growth), strategic industry partnerships and our existing users. We will continue to build partnerships in the industry, a strategy that has already shown success, with companies such as Hilton, Callaway and Golf Digest. These partners give us a relevant platform to get the app into the hands of a large number of real golfers.
Online marketing activity has also been very successful and we will continue to invest in the channels which perform and lead to loyal users, fastidiously tracked to maximise return on investment.
The Clubs and Events
The expansion of our club and event business is a simple equation which has been successful thus far - ‘events breed events’. With more sales staff in more territories we will continue to tap into the hundreds of thousands of golf events which occur yearly and those 30,000+ golf courses.
Supported by offline marketing efforts, we will invest in industry partnerships to give us an audience with multiple PGA pros and golf course operators. This will be backed up by roadshows, showcase events and tradeshows such as the PGA Show in Orlando. The key is to educate and get our products into the decision maker's hands so they can see VPAR used in a live environment.
There are competitors in both the club and app space, but we believe that none exist across both in the way that VPAR does. VPAR also has a unique penetration and brand recognition at thousands of tournament and hundreds of golf clubs, both of which are crucial to the long term growth and retention of our app audience.
Since launching Live Scoring, a number of apps have appeared in the market place which have replicated some of VPAR’s features. However many don’t have any key scoring functionality and focus purely on GPS, which also exists in VPAR. This functionality alone lacks use outside of the individual and doesn’t provide long term integration potential within the fabric of golf clubs and tournament play - both hugely significant in the golf industry.
A key hurdle in the mobile app space (across all sectors not just in golf) is retaining users. Consumers are fickle and, especially as the market matures, VPAR has a few important competitive advantages; by offering more features than our competitors, our app being crucially linked with our club and tournament product, and our experience in product design and usability. This has meant our retention rates during the 2016 golf season were above overall industry benchmarks. *
In the club space, there are a couple of main competitors who have approached the space from different angles. Both have specialised and focussed on what the club wants in a top down approach, rather than any mass consumer product which golfers are so obviously demanding. Ultimately mass adoption will come from both consumer demand in the best product, as well as clubs and tournaments adopting the platform that integrates seamlessly with that.
*Golf season set as June - October.