Development began in December 2013, thanks to the intuition of the two friends. “As students, we ran into a clear problem: we never knew where to go to see live events on TV,” explains Mattia, “It’s a common issue in Italy, especially for soccer. So, we decided to create a small service for fans that are out and about or travelling that would like to see a game.” “I always prefer seeing interesting match-ups to just any game,” continues Stefano. “All true sports fans follow more than just their favorite team.”
Starting off with a personal investment and the support of friends, Findmatch soon became a prototype, ready for testing in Rome. “We started development and organized the first launch just before the World Cup, taking advantage of digital channels and hosting a few events in sports bars. In the first months of 2014, we registered and mapped nearly 120 bars in Italy,” says Mattia. “Every year, bars spend hundreds of Euros to transmit sporting events, yet they never had a service to efficiently advertise the games they were showing. We started by going door-to-door, talking with bar owners about our service. With time we moved online in order to create a solid client base,” explains Stefano.
To grow as entrepreneurs and find extra support to make their idea a reality, the two students followed a course with i-Lab LUISS. “We began with i-Lab when the prototype was already in development in order to expand our market research and develop efficient product and client models. It was the i-Lab tutors that supported our idea and told us that it could work on an international level. At both LUISS and i-Lab, we learned to move one step at a time, and to use an approach that allows us to make a product we can always improve, based on market evolution and movement.”
After tests run during the 2014-2015 Italian soccer season, in 2015 we launched a small crowdfunding campaign on Eppela. “Time, our development model, determination and a bit of luck got us a sizeable investment from both Italian and foreign investors. We also reached our goal of moving to a new platform and we will be soon entering a new foreign market. Their goal is to make FindMatch international by creating a single service to watch games in sports bars all around the world.”
FindMatch is currently available for Android, while the new version will also be available on iOS. However, finding places to watch games is only the first step of the project, which is currently looking to develop new services. “We would like to stimulate our users’ passion for sports in different ways: involving the bars and also creating engagement during matches. Our goal is not simply to help users find places to watch their teams, but to help fans experience the challenge, 100%.”
To those looking to launch a new startup, the two LUISS graduates advise careful evaluation. Says Stefano, “At i-Lab we received excellent advice: precise and punctual criticism that helped us to understand our strengths and weaknesses. They taught us to always count to ten,” concludes Mattia. “Before making any choices, it is fundamental to create a strong team, to be determined, constant and perseverant. An idea is only 1% of a startup: the most important part is developing the idea, putting yourself out there, and gaining experience.”