The Twenty20 cricket world cup was the second largest sporting event in 2012 after London Olympics as it was followed by an estimated 1.5 billion people – around a quarter of the world’s population – according to Yahoo Sports.
Since the mega event was followed mainly on television, this is certainly a sizeable market for those who can provide such a huge audience with an alternative platform – online, mobile phones to be more specific.
eMumba, a January-2012 startup based in Islamabad, is one such example. The company’s eight-member team is working to attract some chunk, if not all, of this massive traffic to the online arena through its product, Cricout. The name is an apt modification of the phrase “let’s hang out” to “let’s cricout!”
A first of its kind, Cricout is a good example of the kind of innovation that is happening in Pakistan’s tech space. It provides cricket fans with a unique social game following experience.
“Cricout is a social network app for cricket that creates a meeting point for friends, fans and experts,” eMumba’s founder and CEO Owais Anjum told The Express Tribune.
It is a distinctive ball-by-ball commentary empowering fans to interact with each other by attaching emotions (likes, dislikes etc), comments, pictures and expert analysis, he said.
“The pictures can be shared through our mobile app by fans in the stadium or by friends having game parties at their homes,” he said.
The users can build their personal following among friends and fans around the world for a highly social game following experience, according to Anjum. Cricout allows users to login via Facebook and invite “friends” over to Cricout, helping users leverage their existing FB connections.
The product looks promising as it is already getting some attention from both the investors and the target markets.
In January 2013, the company raised $85,000 from investors in the Silicon Valley, which is a sign of confidence in the product. The app has hit the top spot in Pakistan and fourth spot in India in the sports category on the App Store, according to appstatics – a third-party application ranking system.
Besides, Apple has listed Cricout as a featured app in nine countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, UAE and Saudi Arabia, said Anjum, a graduate of the first batch (1997) of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology.
Cricout’s web version, cricout.com, was launched in June 2013 and the companion iPhone app hit the App Store in October. The company launched its mobile-friendly version earlier this month.
eMumba’s team is currently working on the Android version, Anjum said, which they plan to launch before the Twenty20 World Cup scheduled for March 2014.
The company is completely focused on building a viable business out of this product, Anjum said. It wants to increase its user base and monetise the same to become profitable.
This is an emerging market, the CEO said, with no major social networking platform for cricket. Elaborating, he said he wants to target not only the existing cricket lovers – who are already online – but also the ones who will start using internet during the next couple of years.
“It is projected that India alone will bring over 100 million new internet users during 2013 and 2014, and anyone can guess that a sizable number of this population will be interested in cricket,” the CEO said.
In other words, he said, the online world of cricket is an emerging market that is likely to see an exponential growth during the next three to five years.
“If we are able to have one million users by the end of 2014, our cash flows will improve and our advertising revenues will surpass our expenses,” Anjum said.
However, the number is a short-term target for Anjum who wants to extend his product’s user base manifold to make it a highly profitable venture. He even left his very lucrative job as Managing Director of Numetrics to take this plunge and work on the idea with full focus and dedication.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2013.
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