South African startup MatchKit has built a platform that helps athletes make money amid the downturn in sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-founded by a Rugby World Cup winner, regardless of the status of sporting events in the COVID-19 era.
MatchKit, which entered the scene in 2020, is a DIY website builder that allows athletes or their agents to display their sporting pedigree and sponsors within minutes, with sites going live.
The platform integrates with existing social media networks like TikTok, to display the reach and quality of the influence of an athlete to potential sponsors, and also provides athletes with a user friendly e-commerce store where fans can buy anything from custom branded merchandise to personalised video and audio. It also allows them to accept payments for their foundation or charity.
The inspiration for the startup came about when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Sharman (pictured above) learnt the lack of website adoption by athletes, especially rugby players, from 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana, now also involved in the startup space in South Africa.
Sharman and Habana joined forces with Ben Karpinski, Shaka Sisulu and Andy OG to solve this problem for athletes.
Sharman, who’s also the co-founder of Retroviral digital agency, said “The reality is that, with social media, most athletes don’t have a website because it’s neither easy nor cost effective to create one – there’s design, development, hosting costs, templates that aren’t geared purely to an athlete’s needs. The problem with a pure social media play is that your personal brand lives across the internet in an extremely fragmented way.
“If a fan or brand is looking for you, they first need to know who you are, and then guess your handle on the various social platforms in order to find you to follow you. Lastly, because of the way in which social media algorithms distribute your content to your timelines, not all of your followers or fans see all of your content, all of the time. This is a problem for your sponsors as they are never exposed to your entire audience – the universe that defines the value of your digital presence.”
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