This Startup Is Building a Tinder for Athletes
A Miami-based startup is building a Tinder for athletic people.
Sportsbuddy’s first tagline read, “Play me, don’t date me.” That overtly flirtatious tone is echoed in a video introducing how the app works. In it, a group of very attractive girls and equally good looking guys come together, through the app, and play soccer together. It’s sweaty, and pretty sexy. The company’s new tagline is, “The game starts here.”
Sportsbuddy is Tinder with a spin. Individuals are matched not only by geolocation, as with Tinder, but also by relative skill in a particular sport. “We create matches with a meaning,” says Jordan Silva Mishkin, the company’s director of business development. “I think it's inevitable that people will use SportsBuddy as a way to meet other singles, but hopefully this way you'll match with someone that you have something in common with and that will lead to a stronger human connection.”
It sounds good. And it also makes sense. Full disclosure here, I was once upon a time a ballet dancer and am now a very dedicated Bikram yogi. Physical activity is a huge part of my life, and it’s pretty reasonable that I would be interested in a partner for whom that is also true. Lifestyle compatibility is important, which is why there are dating sites for every niche out there. (Consider: FarmersOnly is a thing.)
Once you create a profile on the Sportsbuddy app, you pick the sport that you want to play and the “smart matching” technology will suggest potential partners for you to play with who are nearby and at your skill level. You also specify the gender, age and geolocation radius you want to search in. After inviting someone to play, for example, tennis, with you, you can chat within the app to coordinate. After each match, both players rate each other. Sportsbuddy keeps the ratings confidential but uses the information to better match people in the future.
Currently, Sportsbuddy has seven sports categories: tennis, golf, soccer, yoga, running, basketball, gym and an "other" option. More categories are on the way, says Mishkin.
In Florida, you can also browse through nearby group sports activities you can join or create your own event. An embedded directory of sports venues in the area helps event planners find a location. The event searching and planning features of the app will expand to the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago later this summer.
The app is free to use, and Sportsbuddy intends to keep it that way. The company has raised a $500,000 seed round so far and plans to seek more. Its plan is to make money by taking a commission from the event venues, instructors or classes that are booked on the platform. It also plans to charge those who want to advertise classes or events on the platform.