A sports management app with opportunities galore

Follow-ups -eshrag News:

RIYADH: TeamUp is a startup providing sports management solutions with a multiple-tier revenue model based on subscriptions, commissions, advertising and monetization of big data.

Based in Riyadh, TeamUp was founded by CEO Abdulrahman Al-Amer, his brother Amer and their partner Khalid Khudhayr.

All three bring their strengths to the table. Abdulrahman gained no less than seven bachelor’s degrees in the US, from neuroscience to political science, and followed that up with stints in strategic consulting and data analysis and as a swimming referee with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports.

CTO and CPO Amer graduated in electrical and microelectronics engineering. He was a part of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s, or SABIC’s, undergraduate scholarship program and had a management background as founder and CEO of a web solutions provider.

COO Khudhayr has a degree in mechanical engineering and six years of experience as an engineer with Aramco.

TeamUp was conceived after Abdulrahman failed to find an app to manage sports leagues and tournaments that could track individual players’ stats. 

Abdulrahman Al-Amer

He and his partners founded TeamUp in December 2020, with Abdulrahman himself doing much of the coding. They soon hired a three-person development team in Amman, Jordan. They now have a staff of 24, including themselves, in Riyadh, Amman and Nairobi.

The beta version of TeamUp has been up and running since June 2021, and the official launch will happen during Ramadan.

The TeamUp app focuses on football but, in theory, could be applied to any sports tournament. Its revenue model is based on several income streams.

“When a team pays an organizer to participate in a league through TeamUp, we take a commission,” Abdulrahman told Arab News.

“Second, schools can organize their sporting tournaments with TeamUp, and there are several subscription packages for that. For this, we have a strategic partnership with Classera, the largest learning management system in the MENA region with two million students.”

“Third, we can earn revenue from advertising from players and followers. But the real meat in the equation is the commission we make with scouting players for big teams. Our ecosystem will host thousands of players and lots of data points, like how many goals a player scored, the number of followers, how many matches they played, and how many of those games they were the leading player or on the bench or injured. This information is gathered with the permission of the players using our app.

“From these metrics, we do predictive data analysis. We go to Al-Hilal or any other team and ask them what kind of player they require, say, a defender or maybe a right-wing player, and based on their requirements, we search our database and choose the players that match the criteria.”

“We can give them two years of data for each player. They cannot have the same quality of data and accuracy from traditional scouters, who go with pen and paper and watch a player for one or two matches.”

TeamUp will receive a percentage of every deal signed. Given that leading teams are willing to pay anything upwards of $5 million for a player and Paris Saint-Germain paying €222 million to Barcelona to transfer Brazilian player Neymar in August 2017, the possible rewards are apparent.

Abdulrahman expects TeamUp to have a big enough pool of players, and enough data, to begin scouting activities in approximately 18 months.

The company has already signed contracts with sports ministries in Saudi Arabia and Kenya, whereby football teams are mandated to use TeamUp to participate in amateur tournaments. It expects to sign similar deals in several North African countries later this year, with further plans to expand into the UK in 2023.

While 18 months is a long time to wait for generating substantial revenue, Abdulrahman counters that tech giants Google, YouTube, and Twitter all took at least five years to become profitable.

Their business models, like TeamUp’s, depended on their ability to mine and monetize data from that pool of users.

TeamUp’s revenue model and management team received $800,000 in pre-seed funding from 500 Global and Sanabil Investments. Other investors are showing interest in joining the round, and TeamUp will officially announce the funding once they have hit $1 million.

As a sport-tech venture with a strong management team and a globally scalable model, TeamUp was featured in the Startup Hall of Fame at Riyadh’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

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