This series showcases the local ventures and technologies that aims to evolve the sports industry in Australia and abroad. It gets the founders, owners and CEO’s to tell us a little about their story and their hopes for success in the sports tech field.
In this profile we spoke to Jill Storey at Inspire a Star.
Please give us your background on how your company was conceived.
“In 2012, after the London Olympics, I was looking to set up a crowdfunding platform and was moved by manner in which the Olympics can inspire passion in a host nation. The effects of the global financial crisis were still being felt and it was tough for some families to fund their children’s sporting activities.
“Inspire a Star was created in the UK with the aim of helping continue the Olympic legacy to inspire a generation. I have since moved to Australia and have been overwhelmed by the participation levels of children and young people in sport and how sport is such a part of the Australian psyche.”
Can you give your best elevator pitch?
“Inspire a Star aims to help the next generation achieve and fund their sporting dreams. Whether this be to play for the Socceroos or the Opals, to win an Olympic gold, to play in the Ashes, to swim in the school relay team or take up basketball for the first time.”
Briefly describe your product.
“Inspire a Star is a donation based crowdfunding platform aimed at helping children and young people fund their sporting dreams.
“The aim is to help firstly, children who are already good at their sport who want to progress to the next level and may need funds for extra coaching or travel to competitions, and secondly, children who want to start a new sport and who may need to pay to join some group lessons to get going and get active.”
What problems does your product tackle and the solutions that you are trying to solve?
“Once a young athlete reaches a certain level it can become expensive for families to travel to competitions. A young star will often need to be accompanied by their parent and interstate travel may require an overnight stay as well as adding in the cost of transportation.
“In order to reach the next level additional skills or fitness coaching may be required and again this can be expensive.
“For some sports the cost of equipment is prohibitive to many families and for other families where there are several children in the family participation in sport at a club level may be expensive.
“Inspire a Star is a crowdfunding platform that enables a young sporting star to add their profile, describe their sporting dream and their need for funding. They can then send their profile via social media to their family, friends and members of their sporting clubs to try to gain help in funding travel to competitions and extra sporting.
“Where a child or young person is looking to try a sport for the first time it may be that they can complete a profile and ask friends and family to contribute at birthday or Christmas time.”
Have you identified a customer or target market?
“The Target Community encompasses the ‘stars’ who are the children and young people we are facilitating the funding of, their parents or guardians, their coaches, athletes wishing to help mentor the next generation and spectators hoping to see the next rising star.
“The Target Sports include most participation sports in Australia including swimming, rugby, football, AFL, basketball, tennis, golf, netball, cricket, rugby, cycling, athletics, gymnastics, most of the Olympic sports.
“Per Roy Morgan research, the participation numbers in the 6-13 age group bracket were for example 1.2 million in swimming; 1.2 million in football, 924,000 in cycling, 778,000 in athletics and 748,000 in basketball.”
How do you intend to scale your business globally?
“Firstly, to ensure that the payment mechanism makes it possible Australian’s living around the world to donate and contribute to the platform to help fund the next generation of Australian sporting stars. Once the platform is successfully developed in Australia to try to expand the platform globally for certain sports such that teams and individuals can afford to travel to compete.”
Looking into the future, what do you foresee for your company five years from now?
“Our goal eight years from now, by 2024, is to have helped fund a rising star win a medal for Australia at the 2024 Olympics.
“So by 2021, five years from now, a year after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we would like to have helped fund a number of rising stars through to be part of the Australian squads for their chosen sport in the 15-20 age category.
“We would like at this point to be recognised as the leading crowdfunding platform in Australia for rising sporting stars and to have created a community eco-system around sport and young people.”
With thanks to the Sydney Sports Incubator. The SSI is a NSW Government sponsored program whose primary partners are Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA), NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS), SportsCamps Australia (SCA) and Lakeba, the technology partner. The SSI reviews and supports sports themed innovation (in software, hardware, nutritional and medical applications) that may have a direct and positive impact within the sports community as a whole from grassroots through to the elite.