EXCLUSIVE: We target to acquire 2 million sports users over next 18 months, asserts Run Adam CEO Kumaraswamy
In a country where sports is listed under extra-curricular activities, Mr Yeragaselvan Kumarasamy holds a different notion and is doing his best to change people’s perspective in this regard. Under his initiative ‘Run Adam’ – an omnichannel sports-aggregation platform – Kumarasamy has brought together sports and fitness enthusiasts, athletes, coaches, support staff, educational institutions, fitness centres, corporate, sponsors, etc under a single digital platform. An ecosystem, which is so tightly linked, has over 40,000 sportspersons registered and thousands of others who are connected to this ecosystem. It’s also interesting to note that star cricketer MS Dhoni holds 25% stake in Run Adams.
We got in touch with the Founder and CEO of the platform, Mr Yeragaselvan Kumarasamy to know more about ‘Run Adam’ and how his idea is not only helping the sports enthusiast but also bringing a much-needed change in the society.
Here are a few excerpts from the exclusive conversation with BusinessUpturn.com:
What was the idea behind creating the first online sports and fitness community ‘Run Adam’?
Mr Kumarasamy: It all began with our event management company which got us an opportunity to manage and run the CPL team ‘Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel’ in its inaugural edition, in 2013. After CPL, we got into managing few international cricketers during their IPL visits. We subsequently conducted ‘Legends Coaching Camps’ bringing into India the likes of Courtney Walsh, Lance Klusener to train upcoming Indian cricketers. We also conducted ‘Vishy’s Master Class’ to help chess aspirants learn chess directly from Viswanathan Anand. We conducted a ‘Sports Coaching Camp’ where we got coaches from Spain, USA, Jamaica, Argentina etc. to coach school students.
These coaching events gave us access to schools and it is then we realised the need for grass root changes for India to develop world-class sportspersons in a variety of disciplines. One important reason that India’s performance in sports lags is that schools don’t have sport-specific coaches and usually only one Physical Education teacher coaches 3 or 4 sports. Schools at one end were complaining that there was a scarcity of specialised coaches, but on the other hand, we realised that retired Indian athletes were unable to get sustenance in their own sport, and were making a living doing odd jobs.
We began searching for sports related data and could find no single resource that either tracked past or current sportspersons, and there were no simple ways to maintain and access records of any sportspersons starting journey. Data from school games up to district games such as results timing are not captured digitally and thus we cannot identify talent early. A sportsperson’s journey is a difficult one, and often it is a personal struggle of one person and his family against so many odds.
We then conceived a digital platform with technology as the backbone which would help solve all these problems of the sports and fitness fraternity and thus Run Adam was born.
Why was the need felt to bring various stakeholders within the sports community under a single digital platform?
Mr Kumarasamy: We understood early on that the sports and fitness industry in India was scattered and not easily accessible or affordable to all. However, in a way, everything within sports and fitness is mostly interconnected. For instance, a coach identifies, nurtures and brings up athletes, has his own dedicated sports academy, coaches are well acquainted with support staff such as physiotherapists, nutritionists etc. Sometimes a coach also plays a role of an event organizer and has access to umpires, referees etc. In a way, everyone in sports are interconnected with each other but still feel disconnected as they are dispersed and unorganized.
Similarly, an educational institution can also be a sports venue provider during the weekend by renting out their unused basketball court. The possibilities are endless.
As a result, we realised that although on one hand there remained abundant resources and on the other hand there existed equal demand, however, the only way to enable people to unite and engage with each other could be possible if we created an eco-system wherein all the stakeholders can network, engage and transact with each other under one common platform.
Hence Run Adam is an online sports & fitness platform that brings together and connects various sportspersons, professionals & businesses within the sports and fitness community such as sports and fitness enthusiast, athletes, coaches, support staff, on – field staff, sporting academies, educational institutions, sporting venues, sporting events, teams & clubs, fitness centres, sports associations, corporates, sponsors etc. under a single digital platform. While our primary target is the sportsperson and our mission is to help improve their performance, we connect the entire sports ecosystem to achieve that purpose.
How is the platform helping young and aspiring sportspersons in their respective field?
Mr Kumarasamy: We currently have over 40,000 sportspersons registered and thousands of others who are connected to this ecosystem. Apart from athletes, we have coaches, sporting academies, educational institutions, sporting venues, sporting events, teams & clubs, fitness centers, sports associations, and also have potential sponsors registered.
In our ecosystem, the sportspersons can get everything they need at the click of a button. For instance, we have recently helped over 150 sportspersons connected to sponsors and they have benefited by get essentials like spikes, equipment, sport wear, nutrition supplement, based on their needs. We are hoping to help at least 10,000 such athletes by connecting them to sponsors also.
This is achieved as Run Adam has a crowdfunding system enabled within the platform for State, National & International represented Indian athletes. We have also started online booking athletes for events, brand endorsements, one-on-one mentorship sessions thereby enabling new livelihood options for sportspersons. We also plan to start identifying schools, colleges PSUs and corporates offering sports quota and helping sportspersons get admissions in such places since Run Adam has verified sportspersons on in their platform.
Also, the sportspersons journey is often lonely, with little to compare one’s own performance to, so we will be keeping a log of their performance data, which can be compared and analysed with fellow professional athletes to know which areas of enhancements could be done.
This aside, as Run Adam also acts as a social media platform, young and aspiring sportspersons can create their profiles to showcase their achievements, awards, certificates, experience, their workout routines, their goals & dreams, training methodologies etc. to get discovered and identified by the sports & fitness industry.
What professional assistance and guidance from the coaches, players, athletes are given through to the young sportspersons on Run Adam?
Mr Kumarasamy: There are numerous professional athletes, coaches, fitness instructors, nutritionists on Run Adam who regularly share training tips, videos, diet plans, workout regimes etc. on their respective profiles. Such content can be viewed and followed by young aspiring sportspersons which indirectly enables knowledge sharing within the platform. Young sportspersons on Run Adam can follow their favourite idol and stay updated on their daily routine to get inspired and follow their dreams.
Moreover, young sportspersons can book training classes with specialized coaches, book consultation sessions with sports professionals such as physiotherapists, nutritionists, massage therapists etc. To train harder, up and coming sports enthusiasts can book sporting venues to practice their sport, can register for sporting events through the platform. To transform their body, there are many fitness centres to choose from which can be booked online on the platform.
What are your plans to expand this platform?
Mr Kumarasamy: We should be able to acquire 2 million sports-users and will enable over 500,000 transactions over the next 18 months. By then we will also enhance our reach to the hinterlands where most of the sports originates.