A Chat with Trine Falnes, CEO at Sports Tech Brand: Spond 

Spond is an award-winning sports-tech scale-up on a mission to bring people together. With thousands of people giving up their time to coach young people and adults in sports they love, we empower coaches, volunteers and organisers to do more of what they’re passionate about; playing and coaching sports, instead of administration.

Over 1.6 million people use Spond, and we’re growing fast. Really fast. Our customers are largely grassroots sports volunteers, parents and activity organisers, many of whom say that the app ‘makes their life so much easier’.

We have identified that volunteers are often overworked and underappreciated. In a 2019 survey on the state of grassroots sports in the UK, one-third reported being genuinely concerned over financing. Post-pandemic, that concern has been amplified significantly.

Our solution streamlines and simplifies everything in one single app. Spond saves organisers hours every week, ensures attendance, manages communications and even collects money.

What sets Spond apart from its competitors?

 
Not only is Spond free to download, free to use and completely ad-free but, unlike our competitors, our business model is purely transactions based. This means that our users don’t pay any exorbitant software license fees and we only make money when the club generates revenue.

Our intuitive user experience also sets us apart. We’re a purpose-built app designed specifically for organised groups and team activities. We provide teams with a fun and engaging digital space to communicate, support and interact with each other.

We ensure that team organisers are always in control and compliant with GDPR, data management, privacy and safeguarding practices unlike non-purpose-built tools such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

How did COVID-19 impact Spond and its customers?

 
Like any business, we had to adapt. During the UK’s period of tight restrictions, we helped coaches and administrators with their track and trace programmes, ensured bubbles of six and helped maintain regular communications with team members and parents.

At the height of the pandemic, more than 60% of club admins used Spond to communicate with their members weekly – volunteers and team members interacted with each other, organised virtual training and maintained team spirit.

Despite the disruptive effect of the pandemic, we have seen tremendous growth in the UK over the last year. Our active users have increased by 38% year on year, and with over 1.6 million people using our app, there are some encouraging signs that health and wellbeing are at the forefront of people’s minds.
 

What can we hope to see from Spond in the future?

 
We recently closed a considerable fundraising round so that we can continue to invest in the development of the Spond App and introduce new features and functionality. The pandemic pushed us to innovate, finding more ways that we can help our customers address their wider needs and challenges.

Soon, Spond users will be able to launch digital fundraisers via the app. This will create a brand-new fundraising channel for our customers that will help them raise vital funds and open channels that do not currently exist. These micro-fundraisers will be vital in filling funding gaps and replacing lost revenue.

While we already enable payments to be processed via Spond, this new functionality will allow clubs to raise large sums of money to boost their post-pandemic resurgence and enable them to not only survive but to truly thrive.

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