NI sports tech company secures £500,000 in funding

  • Belfast based Pitchbooking, a sports tech company that’s aiming to become the “Airbnb of sports facility booking” has secured over £500,000 in new funding.

    The second funding round where the investment was secured was led by Dominic Hughes and Tom Page of Vertex Albion Capital, a Silicon Valley-based investment firm.

    It was backed by Cecil Hetherington (Chair) and Anthony Kieran of Aurient Investment Ltd; Co-Fund NI, managed by Clarendon Fund Managers; Paul Demarco of Marco’s Leisure and World of Football in Edinburgh and professional footballer Taylor Moore.

    Pitchbooking, the brainchild of Shea and his lifelong friends Fearghal Campbell and Chris McCann, all aged 31, was born of frustration at how difficult it was just to book a football pitch in their hometown.

    To solve the problem, the entrepreneurial trio developed an online platform that enables instant, online booking, providing greater access to sports facilities for the public while streamlining the facility owner’s admin processes.

    The platform now caters for over 25 different sports – even facilitating Quidditch and Ultimate Frisbee.

    RELATED: Pitchbooking becomes official partner of Irish FA

    Fearghal recalled that he and Chris, who did Masters Degrees in software development after graduating in law at Queen’s University Belfast, once dreamt of being professional athletes. However, by their own admission, they  lacked the sporting ability required and turned to working in and engaging with local and community sport instead.

    Speaking about their journey Fearghal said: “Back then, we found the process of booking sports facilities a real pain. We even offered to build a booking calendar for free for a couple of places where we played five-a-side football, just to make our lives easier.”

    He added: “Around the same time, Shea got talking to a groundsman at Oxford City Council who was retiring. He had all the knowledge in his head and said that, when he retired, no one was going to know how the bookings worked and what teams get to play where. For the first time, we realised there was a genuine need for a better solution here Our aim was to let members of the public search, book and pay for facilities – football, tennis, rugby, cricket – in under 60 seconds.”

    Once Oxford came onboard, others followed and now the company has 15 council customers and works with hundreds of independent venues.

    Customers using the platform have recently reached an all time high. Over the last six months the company has signed up more customers than in the previous three years.

    RELATED: Three innovative Irish tech companies come together to make sports performance technology accessible to all

    The company also runs programs for the Irish Football Association through a partnership with the FA and their event sponsors.

    Although the public are Pitchbooking’s end users, their main customers are sports facility managers who sign up on a subscription basis.

    Chris McCann, Co founder of Pitchbooking, said: “Our customers range from the very big, 400+ facilities, to the very small, single community facilities that need a better way to operate their booking processes. We have two great products now - facility and event booking software. The idea is to use this funding to accelerate growth of these products and get them into the hands of more people.”

    In addition to online booking, users can also access an analytics dashboard that allows them to see data on bookings, cancel and refund customers and set custom pricing and availability.

    Shea concluded: “We’ve got a fantastic product, a really keen and eager team and we want to expand this to as many facilities & events as possible.”

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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