With technology designed to improve organisational efficiency in the world of amateur sports, Mayo company Sportlomo set out three years ago to ease the burden of hundreds of volunteer organisers and coaches around Ireland.
It developed software which can track game schedules, collect results and manage fixtures for individual sports and, which chief executive Seamus Kyne has discovered, can be used to create an invaluable data resource for sporting organisations.
“Users can see clearly the levels of participation in their sports by region and they can drill down through the data to understand their playing stats by age, gender and locality,” he said, adding that this gives national governing bodies a clearer picture than was ever obtainable before and can be used as a basis for allocating resources.
Mr Kyne believes that the discovery, which came about as the company began making plans for international expansion, will significantly increase the marketability of Sportlomo software.
Now supplying 50 sporting organisations in Ireland in addition to 200 clubs, Sportlomo, backed by a €270,000 funding round this year, has already had sales in the US, Canada and the UK.
Mr Kyne set up the company in 2013 with his wife Vivienne Lee when they noticed an absence of technology in the organisation of amateur sporting events.
“Volunteers were working long hours using pen and paper and spending hours making phone calls to collect results,” he said.
He and his wife previously ran a web design company which received requests from sports organisations for automated competition management.
As a new company with a staff of four in Castlebar, Sportlomo started by selling a competition management module to GAA county boards and subsequently developed a range of other modules.
“At the time there were companies which provided website and content management but no one had taken on the task of automating the administration and collecting of data. There was no software to collate results,” said Mr Kyne, adding that Sportlomo modules now include player registration and membership and referee management.
By the end of 2014 the company was selling to 40 different leagues and had begun working with national governing bodies in both hockey and rugby.
“During 2015 league administrators managed information for 120,000 games in 15,000 competitions using our software. Our servers delivered over 100 million page views to an average of 320,000 monthly unique visitors,” he added.
He estimates that it is now being used to track the participation of over 50,000 players. It is being used by GAA county boards, soccer leagues and the Irish Hockey Association but he says the highest level of sales has been to rugby organisations.
Sportlomo now sells to the IRFU in all four provinces, and in doing so has created a database of information about the sport.
Said Mr Kyne: “Rugby is the most advanced user of our technology. Now we can show the level of functionality within rugby to get interest from other sports.”
With some assistance from Enterprise Ireland, the company began researching international markets in 2014.
In June Sportlomo received €270,000 in funding from Halo Angel Business Network in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. It expects to close a second funding round, for another €230,000, next month.
The company is using this funding to employ additional programmers and sales personnel and has already doubled its workforce to 12.
The key focus for exports now is the North American market and, since the start of the year, Sportlomo has had sales in British Columbia and Ontario as well as New York and New England and the UK.
The plan now is to generate additional revenues by partnering with major brands who wish to target players and supporters involved in amateur sporting.
By 2017, Sportlomo aims to grow exports to 40%, increase its staff size to 30 and achieve a turnover of €1m.