Navsports - Your Sporting Community

Today we showcase the story of another successful startup and entrepreneur, Stewart Whicker, Founder & CEO, of NavSports Ltd

NavSports is an Australian-based company focused on providing next-generation tools to grassroots sports clubs to promote to and communicate with existing and potential participants.

Let us explore what Stewart has to say about his venture NavSports and his thoughts on Sports as an industry and Innovation coming out of Australia. This is what he has to say:

• Please tell us about yourself, your background and interests?
My name is Stewart Whicker and my background is in Sports Facility Management and Elite Sports Coaching. My interests include sports promotion and playing tennis when I get the chance.

• Who are the people behind this and how it started?
Dean Viglione is Navsports Chairman and a former Australian Junior Judo Champion.
Marcelo Moraes is our Chief Information Officer lead software developer.
Navsports also has a small team of graphic designers and software engineers.
Navsports was started by Stewart Whicker (CEO/Founder) about three years ago.

• How long it took before it was up and running?
About 12 months

• What is the main objective/mission behind your venture?
Provide the most cutting-edge applications to the world`s sports clubs and provide the largest sports social network in the world.

• What services it provides for consumer or customers?
Club benefits
  • Map location/Address.
  • Customised logos and pictures.
  • Contact phone numbers.
  • Contact emails.
  • Personal Profiles can display the club`s logo.
  • Additional website linking.
  • List and edit coach profiles.
  • Competitions, Tournaments, squads.
  • Sports camps, coaching programs.
  • Socials and Lots more.
  • The latest competitions and tournaments are displayed right on your home page.
  • The closest sports players / athletes are displayed right on your home page.
  • Live event video streaming.
  • Communications portal with associated members. (Navmail)
  • Volunteer incentives.
  • Much more.
Personal member benefits
  • Upload a photo of yourself.
  • A personal blog about your interests.
  • Shows a list of your local sporting clubs.
  • Add your friends to your profile.
  • Search for other people based on age and skill level.
  • Search thousands of Australian sports clubs.
  • Associate yourself with your favourite club by having their logo on your profile.
  • Upload your own sports videos and have the public vote for you to be our video star.
  • When you associate with a club, your profile will be on their club template under club members.
  • Select your own skill level.
  • Make your profile available in other sports.
  • Create sporting groups.
  • Much more.

• What type of customers you are targeting?
Sports-minded people of all ages.

• How many people are using your services?
Last month we had over three hundred thousand unique searches on the sports directory NavSports

• What sort of marketing you are using to spread the word?
We are working closely with National sporting bodies through our Getting Started program. You can view this program here

• How are you measuring the success of your venture? Are there any special mechanisms/tools in place to monitor the progress?
Yes, we measure the growth of our site through member registrations, club registrations, visitors to our site and through advertising revenue, premium membership registrations and online statistical gathering.

• What is the monetizing/revenue model? Is there any new model, which is being tried?
Premium memberships, and advertising models we are developing a new model but it's under wraps for know.

• Which are the main competitors or major players in this market segment?
There are many players in this field. There are many national and international companies vying for this market. You have players like (Nationally) Doubledrummer, 3eep, Sporting Central and the like and then you have (International) players like FanNation, Takkle and quite a few more.

• What are the main technologies used behind this venture?
We are a leading proponent of web 2.0 technologies. Ajax, PHP, java, flash and a few newly developed technologies are under wraps for the moment.

• What has been the easiest to use, out of box and helpful technology?
Gee, we customise our own applications, we have partners for highly refine technologies but mainly believe in developing in-house applications.

• Are you using a lot of open-source tool sets for this?
No, we like to customise and develop our own apps

• What is your operating environment (operating system) and what type of database you are using?
Window server, and we are running MSQL database configurations

• How often do you catch up with others trying similar things and where do you catch up?
Absolutely, it’s very important to communicate with industry leaders we catch up online. Sportsmarketing20 is a great resource for budding entrepreneurs

• Do you have dedicated communities in your city?
There are communities within Australia, but within Australia, we mainly work with National sports bodies and local sporting clubs.

• What’s your thought on being an entrepreneur? How tough it is to start a venture in Australia?
If it was easy then everyone would be doing it, so I very much appreciate the difficulties and complexities of the industry. My background in elite sports coaching has given me the insight to believe in yourself and your team.

• What government resources have you used to help your business? And have they made an impact?
I looked into Government resources. I must admit that for the time and effort in chasing Government funding as a resource, you would be better off networking with industry peers.

• Have you sought any funding?
We have had fruitful meetings with venture capital firms, but at the moment continue to rely on our private backers. We see venture capital as imperative when we start to develop our hardware infrastructure further.

• What do you think the government (federal and state) should do to improve the culture of innovation and the telecom industry?
Stop wasting money by outsourcing funding pools to consultancy firms. They are out of touch and lack interest in innovation.

• Do you have any advice for people who want to start their venture?
Research, research and study. Know your industry. And don’t let people take your beliefs away (because they will try).

Thanks, Stewart for sharing your thoughts with us. All the best for the future.

For coverage on other Australian startups, innovation, and tech trends check this out our coverage on interviews can be found here

Image Credit PhotoWorx


Anonymous said…
They have a pretty big database of clubs. Over fourteen thousand in their directory. Probably bigger than the yellow pages.