India's fastest growing sports edtech startup Sporjo has announced its association with the Indian tennis great Leander Paes and also stated that the company has raised $2 million in a Pre Series A round led by a private investor Punit Balan of Punit Balan Group & Punit Balan Studios, in participation with other private investors. The 1996 Olympics medalist, Paes will work as strategic advisor and ambassador with the startup outfit.
Founded in May last year by G Srinivvasan—a sports industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience—Sporjo is a one-stop destination for building a successful career in the Indian sports industry. Based on the tenet of transforming passion into profession in sports, the company aims to create an ecosystem of half a million professionals to support the Indian sports industry by 2030.
"Challenges exist for both candidates and employers. A lack of credible sources, information and knowledge is a major hurdle for the candidates. Skill gaps, understanding of the business of sports and incredible lead times to find the right person ail the employers. With jobs in sports projected to grow at a CAGR of 6% by FY24, addressing this gap between candidate and employer through assessing, training and eventually placing professionals has been Sporjo's genesis," said G Srinivvasan, Founder & CEO, Sporjo.
While the sports industry is still in its infancy in India, the landscape has witnessed a significant transformation in the last decade. With the advent of IPL and other subsequent leagues, the industry has seen a massive shift towards investments in sports. Sports' lucrative potential is clear with large corporations entering the segment.
"In the journey of a career spanning 31 years, I've had many learnings and one of my greatest understandings has been that having that right group of skilled professionals by your side to aid your success can make all the difference between winning and becoming a champion. The evolution of sports and the refinement of professional athletes over the past few years has created a valid need for skilled professionals that understand the nuances of the industry. Sporjo is a brand that has identified this and is making strides to equip the entire Indian sporting industry. I personally am very excited to be associated with a brand that is working towards creating an ecosystem of excellence right from the grassroots level. Becoming successful isn't random or a matter of luck, it's a mindset and through this association I hope we are able to aid and create an ecosystem that breeds successful individuals in the field of sports across all mediums," Leander Paes, Strategic Advisor & Ambassador, Sporjo, commented.
However, for a market estimated at INR 100 billion, sports in India contribute 0.1 percent to the GDP compared to the global average of 0.5%. This indicates tremendous potential for expansion. Sporjo offers a trademarked assessment tool that allows participants to decipher a road map based on their skill set and personality as well as education and training modules led by industry experts across the variety of categories such as digital and social media, data and analytics, operations, sports science, coaching, etc., to further hone their skills.
Punit Balan, Investor of Sporjo, said: "What Sporjo is doing for the Indian sports industry is transformative. With the Indian sports market poised for growth, there is an ever-growing need for professionals in the industry. Having backed athletes as well as a few teams over the years, I am acutely aware of the gap that exists in recruiting the right talent. It is also the right time to start educating parents, children and professionals about the varied careers that exist in the sports industry and providing them with a roadmap backed with an action plan. I am very proud to back innovators like Sporjo that provide that solution while empowering & building a community of sports professionals. I believe in their vision and I look forward to their continued growth and evolution."
Online education, training and employability are the focus for the company and will use the funds for expanding its product offerings, improving product experience, scaling its team and driving expansion pan India and in key overseas markets.