Fuelling athlete dreams in Asia with FundMySport
By Gabey Goh December 6, 2013
- New crowd-funding platform aims to connect professional and aspiring athletes directly with supporters
- Current focus on building portfolio of athletes and raising awareness amongst wider public
IT ALL began over a beer one Friday evening with Kuala Lumpur-based Marc Tanner and Adam Bailey discussing how hard athletes have to struggle to finance their careers.
Web designer, sports fan and avid golfer Tanner (pic) had clocked up some time caddying for a friend, who plays professional golf on the Asian Development Tour.
“It was through this experience that I learned of the struggles that professional athletes and up and coming amateur athletes have in terms of financial burdens just in order to compete professionally,” said Tanner in an email interview with Digital News Asia (DNA).
This newfound insight into the inner workings of professional sports and the athletes, which populate these arenas, sparked the initial idea to create a platform to aid athletes in their need to raise funds in order to compete.
“Once we had conceived the idea, we noticed that people like us with similar goals had already successfully implemented crowd-funding for athletes in Canada and America,” said Tanner.
He added that companies like MakeAChamp.com have already successfully funded the Olympic training of several Canadian athletes, and their success is one of the founders’ key motivators in their goals to help athletes across Malaysia and the rest of South-East Asia.
Billed as the first fundraising platform in Asia for athletes, FundMySport went live in mid-October after six months in development.
During the first two weeks, Tanner reported that the platform has managed to generate a user base of 12 professional golfers via word of mouth, alongside interest from athletes in other sports as well.
A key addition to the venture, according to him, has been the inclusion of Australian professional golfer Stewart Ginn as the platform’s ambassador.
Ginn (pic) is a two-time winner of the Malaysian Open, and a world-wide tour player on the PGA, European and Champions Tours, who has lived in Malaysia for the past 23 years playing a big role in the development of professional golf in the country over the past decade.
“We are very proud that Stewart [Ginn] has come on board to help us grow the concept of online fundraising for athletes in Asia, and he himself said that if a platform like FundMySport had existed back when he was playing full-time, he would have had a lot more opportunities to play in America and further afield,” Tanner shared.
PGA professional golfer Nick Pugh is also on-board as the venture’s chief athletic advisor.
Building the fund
Tanner admits that what began as a side-project and labour of love for two sports enthusiasts has since turned into full-blown obsession “that has grown way out of control.”
FundMySport was developed in-house from the ground-up using custom code, with Tanner and Bailey (pic) bootstrapping the entire venture.
He added that the crowd-funding and administrative sections that drive the back-end of the site are all custom-coded and based on the latest CodeIgnitor frameworks and feature rich, interactive admin panels for site administrators and athlete coordinators to easily manage requests.
“Most of the athletes we have been speaking to during development have offered invaluable feedback and advice on how they use technology during the development process, enabling us to launch a system that even the most tech-illiterate athlete should have little problems using,” Tanner said.
The site was designed to complement today's high ranking amateur and professional athletes busy schedules. It lays claim to being the first fundraising platform in Asia that allows athletes to raise money for their sporting careers from their peers and social networks.
Athletes can create their own personal athletic profile for free, add their sporting bio, athletic gallery, and by using the platforms unique and dynamic athletic timeline feature, can create a digital representation of their athletic achievements, goals and schedules that showcase the major events in their athletic careers. Athletes can add their photos and videos, and share their athletic profile across all their social networks.
Once ready, athletes can create a funding campaign within their profile and offer their contributors unique tokens of appreciation called ‘perks’.
Each ‘perk’ is specifically made for each funding campaign and for each athlete, and depending on the level of donation the perk could range from a personalized thank-you on the athletes social media to a day’s coaching - or a year long sponsorship on the athletes equipment or clothing whilst they compete.
“With the decline in funding for sports making headlines in nearly every country, FundMySport will bridge the gap between the athletes and their fans, allowing true sports fans the chance to interact and support their local athletes on a one-to-one level,” Tanner said.
He added that the team is targeting 50 athletes in various sporting fields by the end of 2013, including six active funding campaigns.
“That is one of the main aspects of FundMySport, even though it's primary function is as a vehicle for athletes to raise money, we also want to build a community where athletes can create their online resume and have a dedicated place on the internet, away from the usual social media channels to promote their careers and showcase their athletic 'brand',” Tanner added.
Next Page: Managing the fund