Roy Bailey created the perfect idea for sports fans: a social platform where they can find people like them through their common passion. USports is the one-stop shop for local sports fans. It’s a mobile app that allows fans to connect through their love for one team, sport, or city.
The founder came up with the idea as an avid sports fan who noticed there wasn’t an easy way to engage with other fans. While other social media platforms have groups, these can still feel rigid and lack a sense of connection. However, once he came up with the idea, he ran into a challenge that was beyond finding fans.
Sports fans are an ideal audience for startups. The coming years show no signs of slowing down, with viewership growing steadily since 2020, and while this market is promising, it comes with many questions, which Bailey wanted to answer, but he needed guidance.
The startup progressed in developing the core idea and with every step, Bailey understood he needed some direction. Much of the uncertainty revolved around USports distinctiveness, and that’s where the Slidebean financial model workshop came into play.
“One of the super unique aspects of the concept is that it’s a true social networking site but with geofencing,” Bailey explained. Geofencing is when apps restrain the audience to a specific territory, so they can better understand how it works and improve their operability. “That was really tricky to do because your business model has to be pretty robust and creative.”
That’s when he found Slidebean’s videos on financial modeling. While these were of great help, he still wanted to learn more.
“It was just so foreign to me. It was challenging, plus we had a peculiar business model”, he explained. At this time, Bailey discovered Slidebean’s financial model workshop, and he decided to take it, which ended up being a decision he greatly valued.
“I had to understand the analytics, such as growth rate, the time spent on the app, your CPM, churn, ad, and subscription revenue,” he added. “So the fact that Slidebean could help me understand these terms, and walk me through them, was the difference between me getting possibly funded or not.”
This knowledge helped Bailey with the core idea for USports. Now, it’s time for USports to revolutionize how sports fans interact.
“We’re bringing very passionate people together through the umbrella of sports and make meaningful connections from there,” Bailey explained. The idea boils down to solving an essential dilemma for sports fans: where to find the rest of them.
The founder uses himself as an example. If he landed in a city and wanted to find a bar to watch a Detroit Lions game, it was practically impossible to know which venue would have it on. Plus, finding fans to share the experience with was a challenge. This situation applies to football and soccer, hockey, and more. It seemed logical to create an app to solve this.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app that you could use to find those venues, and those people?” He started working on the idea, and the more he figured out the app, the more interesting it got, and so did the challenges. Finally, it became clear to the USports team that they had to start small. That’s where geofencing comes into play.
“Through the first nine or ten months, we will be only in Charleston, South Carolina. From then, it’ll be incubated growth,” Bailey explained. This means expanding from city to city instead of an all-out expansion. This method will allow USports to finetune its financial model while using Slidebean’s tools as guidance, such as templates and lessons.
USports geofencing traits, and incubated growth, presented a series of demanding challenges that needed to be sorted out before reaching out to investors. “USports really tested the limits of Slidebean’s financial model template,” he smiled. “So, I wanted that huge, overwhelming template to make sense. I wanted to be able to speak to it, and understand it, while also being an industry standard.”
Even if it seemed intimidating to understand the financial model, Bailey was eager and excited to learn, both as a founder and on a personal level. So, it was of great help when he started Slidebean’s financial model workshop, and he saw that the content was easy to digest.
“The Loom videos were great because I could listen to them on my AirPods while on a morning run. This would help me learn how to speak articulately to metrics”, Roy highlighted.
The learning didn’t stop there, as the calls were also crucial. “Being able to work with Caya and Sandra was exciting. It’s the kind of mentorship that has a commitment to doing it the right way, that will also work in the long term. They help you understand the financial model, but also help you quit early. They tell you: we want to help show you that this [startup idea] isn't gonna work. That’s great because you need somebody to tell this to you”, Bailey added. Although this wasn’t the case for USports, these hard lessons are valuable for startups. As for USports, once the startup understood the financial model, it gained the confidence to expand beyond Charleston and across the globe.
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