Want to go skiing, skydiving or spring diving but can’t find any company listings or good reviews online? Sportody has a solution for that. Sportody is a 12-person technology startup running out of the Gainesville Innovation Hub that’s looking to change the way people search for outdoor sporting opportunities by providing a single website for thousands of outdoor sports providers.
“The No. 1 reason people don’t take part in sporting activities is because they can’t find them,” explained company founder Roger Catchpole, a recent MBA graduate in finance from the University of Florida College of Business Administration. “Say you want to go diving, and you look through 10 different providers and their websites. What we’re doing is providing a way to search for real-time opportunities all in one place.”
Named for “sport odyssey,” sportody.com launches in mid-August and will operate similarly to sites like Urbanspoon where users can rate their experiences with outdoor sports providers. Reviews will be broken down into several categories, like how much something costs, what the staff was like and the condition of equipment.
“We want to know how we got there, to that review,” said Catchpole. “It’s great to have a five-star rating” — which for Sportody will be shields, to reflect their logo — “but you really need more information when you’re going on a boating trip.”
Breaking reviews down into categories adds credibility to the service, Catchpole said, because of the amount and quality of the information. Reviewers will also be able to add photos and video to their posts.
The site will also provide a platform for sporting providers to create profiles for their companies, list events and find clients.
“Outdoor sports are massive,” he said, “but the providers don’t often have huge power. We’re trying to provide that power. These guys don’t necessarily have great websites or marketing expertise.”
For companies that have their own professional websites, Sportody is working on widgets that
providers can put on their sites to advertise their ratings.
The website’s beta-test will go live and open to the public in mid-August, during which the company will be gathering feedback. Sportody will go live with about 50,000 providers from more than 25 different outdoor sports. The site is currently focused on North America, but many of its listed providers are companies that operate globally.
The beta test will provide most of the site’s functionality, but probably won’t provide a planned opportunity-booking feature. That feature will likely go live when the site comes out of beta.
The site will be totally free for regular users, and mostly free for providers. Sportody will make its money off of third-party banner advertisements and the forthcoming booking feature.