January 12, 2012
It’s hard to be a sports fan and not enjoy January. We’ve got NCAA football, basketball, and hockey, NFL playoffs, NBA, NHL, and best of all, no baseball. (I kid). To continue with the theme, earlier this week we covered LockerDome, the “Facebook for fans and athletes.”
Today, we look at OnSports, the mobile sports app fueled by fan conversation.
“We want to be THE sports app of record. Period,” says Anand Iyer, CTO of the San Francisco-based Hitpost, the makers of OnSports.
Although mobile applications provide a platform for innovative ways to engage a user, sports apps currently employ traditional practices. Iver sees a problem in this approach. Fans don’t want to be passive consumers in sports information – they crave interaction. “OnSports wants to be the first crowd-powered sports channel. We saw a need that sports fans want to express themselves and have conversations with like-minded people. We wanted to enable fans to have those conversations.”
And in order to fuel these conversations, the team behind OnSports focuses on testing out new features – quickly. “We’ve learned to apply lean principles….An example of this was when we rolled out the “On Fire” feature – we have an algorithm we employ to determine when a story is “catching fire” [i.e. generating a lot of interaction]. We built this feature in a day and it has been very successful.” Iyer went onto say, “This lean process has been paramount in helping us learn about how we create something that users truly want and will enjoy.”
As for the future, Iver sees the winner of the global sports audience belonging mobile. Thus, he is bullish on their opportunity. “Hitpost is a small startup team of mobile-first developers, and that gives us a competitive edge over larger incumbents who are equally influenced by their website businesses. We execute boldly and react quickly, and we’re happy to say it’s working.”
To date, Hitpost has received a six-figure infusion of funds from a group of angel investors: Keith Rabois, Naval Ravikant and the CSO of the 49ers, Gideon Yu.
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