Niko Karstikko, cofounder of Sportsetter, came by our new office today to talk about what’s been going on with their company. It turns out they’re up to a lot, from new money, new pricing, new features, and international growth.
When we first covered Helsinki and NY-based Sportsetter a few months ago, it was one of those “why didn’t I think about that” moments. Essentially they work with activity companies like gyms, rock climbing walls, and yoga studios to help fill up their unused inventory with people interested in trying new sports. It feels similar to a Groupon model in that sense, but rather than having these activity companies devalue their services by coupons or offers (which may cause friction with paying members and lead people to never want to pay full price), Sportsetter works with an updated subscription model where users pay €8.99 or €14.99 a month to be given access to two or four activities, which are worth more than €30 apiece on average.
“We take the price out of it and the campaigning basis,” says Niko Karstikko, cofounder of Sportsetter, “We bring in pre-qualified leads without a pricing conversation.”
The company has had a lot of good things going for it lately, raising a €200,000 project by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation to continue the development of their “matching intelligence” which matches people with activities based on their interests based on a profile of their customers. “Amazon does it for products, Spotify does it for Music, and we do that for the service sector,” continues Karstikko. They say their tech can be applied to more than just Fitness, of course, like the health and beauty sector, or other services, which they might explore down the road.
Additionally they’ve launched Sportsetter Social, which they says has tripled user adoption by allowing people to “gift” passes to friends for free, and a “want it” feature that allows you to request activities that your friends have done. The idea here is to find mutual fitness interests with your friends by discovering what they’re doing and what they’re interested in. So if you discover a friend has some experience in martial arts, for example, you may be more willing to try out the sport once you have someone to go with.
Corporations are also in Sporsetter’s eye, considering how every company seems to be trying to get their employees to move these days. Employees in Finland are sitting on a massive amount of unused subsidized sports passes, so if firms can give their employees an wide array of options to try and choose from, everyone wins.
And last but not least of Sportsetter’s news, the company is launching in New York City in about a month. “We are rapidly acquiring new partnerships everyday in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs,” says co-founder Trevor Ferguson.
They currently have four people setting up partnerships in New York, and are recruiting in both NYC and Helsinki.