This month’s Startup Stories interview is with Dan Bedi, a co-founder and CEO of the all-new JAFA app, an essential new download for football fans. While the JAFA app is brand new, the founding team are dreaming big, hoping to expand their new creation into something that “supports sports fans on a global scale”. We caught up with Dan to find out where the app came from, where it’s going, and how potential investors might want to get involved.
How long has the JAFA app been up and running?
It has been up and running for just under a month now, so it’s really new.
Tell me about how you founded the app.
OK. So, there are three founders: Jimmy, Omar and myself. We all met on our MBA last year – we were all fulltime students at Cranfield University. Omar is our tech guy – he used to run mobile software teams for Garmin. Jimmy is a seasoned finance director who has scaled up a lot of businesses. My background is in sales and partner relationships, and I used to run a medical consumer goods business. Between the three of us, we came up with idea and decided we’d give it a go. We finished the MBA in August, and that’s when the business started.
So, what makes the JAFA app different to other football-related apps?
Purely and simply, we do two things slightly differently. We take all of the news and all of the views and we put them all into one place for sports fans, but we have some very clever tech that sits underneath all that. We see what people click on, learn what they like and then personalise the whole experience for them, which makes it really engaging. That personalisation piece is something completely different, but we also use that technology to provide sports clubs, brands and organisations with the ability to understand sports fans better, and the ability to target and reach them in a very different manner than what has happened before.
Are you seeing much pick up? I know it’s only a month old at this point, but how’re things looking?
At the moment we’re in what’s called a ‘soft launch’. What that means is that we’ve taken it one step on from the beta version, pushed it out into the wild and we’re using any interaction to test how well the app is working, fixing any remaining bugs, and seeing how it stands up. After that, we’ll look to scale up.
We’ve already got some pretty big brands onboard already – Heineken, Puma, New Balance, Betfair, Football Index, Ticketmaster – and they’re all secured and onboarded with us now. Alongside the partners, we’ll be looking to scale up interaction when we press go on the marketing play.
What are the ‘big aims’ for the company, then?
We are all football fans, and football is a huge market, but we see a real opportunity to scale it out beyond football. We see it in the same way that Opta has done with its different accounts. We can do a similar thing: a JAFA app for football, a JAFA app for rugby, for cricket, for eSports – whatever it might be. We can scale it up from there. The fans are the ethos and the backbone behind the app. We’re making sure that the fans can have a voice and that they can be heard. It’s almost like a digital Talksport. We want to be able to support sports fans on a global scale.
And the JAFA app team at the moment – is it just the three of you?
We have four of us here now in Angel, London, plus some interns, and then we have some technical staff in Eastern Europe. We’ve got a whole host of people involved. A lot of people in design, social media. It’s growing all the time.
I know that you’re currently looking for potential investors, and we’re putting you on our SEIS page alongside this interview (see the link below). What’s the potential with the JAFA app for anyone looking to invest?
SEIS is obviously a well-trodden path. Investors can save 50% of their income tax on any investment made, so if you invest £50k you get a rebate of £25k. For us as a business, we’re looking for investors to come on the journey with us. We’ve got a fantastic team, we’ve got some great traction, some massive partners onboard, and businesses in our sector have recently seen multiple exits, and some have seen as much as 23 times return for their investors. It’s potentially a very lucrative opportunity.
For more information on the JAFA app, head to jafaapp.com. Alternatively, click here for further info on the JAFA SEIS opportunity.