127: Bvddy – The Story Behind The Tinder For Sports App
Former tennis pro, Pedro Ast, followed in his father’s footsteps up until his late teen years. Despite his sporting achievements, Ast wanted to be recognized not only for his athletic ability. But also for his passion for technology and innovation.
At 19 years old Pedro started at the University of Miami and while also being a full-time college athlete he graduated from the school of business with a degree in Entrepreneurship. But, how could he combine his passion for sport and tech?
A flash of inspiration appeared when he was struggling to find someone to play tennis with in Miami. This was the moment that the concept for Bvddy app was born. The premise was simple, a mobile platform that allows people to search for partners for the sport of their choice as well as find and organize their own sporting events and activities.
Fortunately, a team of investors could immediately see the value behind this simple concept that is often dubbed as Tinder for sports. Armed with over $1.5 million in funding, the idea quickly became a reality. Ast used technology to enable smart-matching, event management, and a discovery element so that people could easily connect and play the sports they love.
When signing up to Bvddy, users are invited to select their interests from a long list of fitness categories such as weight loss, leagues and the great outdoors. After just a few seconds, Bvddy’s algorithm will deliver potential sporting partners in their area. Much like a certain dating app out there, you just swipe right if you want to make a connection and left to reject the invite.
No matter what your level of skill or fitness Bvddy is aiming to find you the perfect match. Whether its traditional sports like football, yoga, running, swimming and basketball or kite surfing, snowboarding or MMA, the days of saying I’m bored should be over.
Players also rate each other, which encourages users, to be honest about their fitness, proficiency or how experienced they are in a given sport. The Bvddy app’s proprietary algorithms learn about players over time, including how often they play, location, actual skill level, punctuality, competitive spirit, to continually provide the most accurate matches.
Anyone who readily admits to being out of shape is quickly running out of excuses for not being more active. Saying you don’t have anyone to play with is just not going to cut it when apps such as Bvddy are just a free download away.
Using your phone to look for a sporting partner rather than a date is a unique angle for a mobile app. The rise of the digital nomad is helping professionals relocate or work in different locations. Technology is once again illustrating how it can be used to bring people together to enjoy the great outdoors and stay active.
Ultimately, Bvddy is a matchmaking app for sports matches rather than dating and is refreshing for that very reason. Ast believes that the best digital strategy is continuing to grow organically city-by-city.
The cynical readers might be wondering how such an app can make money. Ast has a few subtle ideas such as monetizing paid events where the company would take a small cut of fees for a large fitness class for example. But, any talk of premium features is some way off yet.
Being faced down in a smartphone is often described as a sad indictment of our digital times. However, maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to judge as the person you are ridiculing could be organizing activities or creating public and private sporting events. Perhaps the technology that is blamed for our sedentary lifestyle is encouraging users to play and facilitates a fit, healthy lifestyle regardless of our skill level.
I wanted to find out the story behind the Bvddy app, so I invited founder, and CEO of Bvddy, Pedro Ast to talk about how and why he set out to connecting people through the sports they love. As we approach the end of 2016 and begin to think our goals for 2017, could apps help you get back in shape or rediscover your passion for sport again?