October 24, 2016
Everyone loves playing sports with a partner. Former ATP World Tour tennis player Pedro Ast faced the problem of finding players of the same skill set for pick-up games when he left the tour. Most of the men he played with moved away or traveled, and he couldn’t find someone to return his serve.
With a passion for tennis and pick-up soccer games, Ast set out to help others connect through sports and build relationships. Today, he is CEO and founder of Bvddy, an app that enables recreational players to find and connect with people that have the same level of skill and experience.
“Finding someone to play tennis with was the main inspiration,” said Ast in an interview with Tech.Co.
Users complete a Smart Profile that helps categorize them by preferred sports, years of experience, how often they play, ranking (handicap, skill level, etc.), how they answer sport-specific questions, and other criteria. The value in the app comes through their proprietary Smart Matching algorithm that learns about each player’s skill set, behavior in the app, and who they choose for a game.
The algorithm will make it hard for players to cheat the system and lie about their skill as users are able to provide feedback about the about their various opponents, including punctuality, competitive spirit, and accuracy of skill.
“There are other smart matching systems and people are using a lot of false representations. When you have to perform an activity, it makes them accountable to their skill set. The system will adjust your rating based on feedback,” said Ast. “There is value with connecting someone with your skill level, We’re giving people who are relevant to you and believe you should be connecting with those with similar interests to you.”
To date the company has raised $2,615,000 in funding and is projected to hit an inflection point of 500,000 users by the end of 2016.
The company is planning to enhance the user experience and improve communication between players to set up games, create events, find venues, and more. Though Ast was not able to give specifics, the company is planning on introducing premium features as one component of their monetization strategy in early 2017.
“Sports is one of the most meaningful ways to have a connection – especially when you compete with them,” said Ast. “We always focuses on the connection of people.”
Today, the company announced their expansion into San Francisco and Los Angeles. They plan on focusing on metro areas to build marketshare as they scale up.
“Our digital strategy is to go city-by-city. We believe that we want to feed a metro city to have the best chance to grow organically to make it successful,” said Ast.
The company plans to add 11 additional sports to the menu by the end of November including volleyball, squash, kite surfing, snowboarding, even MMA.
“The beauty of Bvddy is that it can make people get out from behind their computers and go do something outside [while] creating and building meaningful relationships,” said Ast.
Bvddy app is available on Android and iOS, download it here.
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