The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: A place for fans to connect with other supporters of the same teams, find the best places to watch games and get aggregated, team-specific tweets and articles.
Genius Idea: A back end platform for teams, businesses and brands to tap into that concentration of hardcore and cash-strapped sports fans.
With a seemingly ever-growing number of social-based services for sports fans, it can be hard for a startup to stand out. But Fancru co-founders John Wagner and Bill Diamond believe their app has what it takes to rise above the pack — thanks in large part to what outside businesses can do on top of the Fancru platform.
Fancru launched late last year, and has so far attracted about 10,000 users despite “zero marketing and zero PR,” Diamond says. Thursday morning, the company will begin a publicity push with the announcement of its most recently updated iOS app. An Android version is scheduled to arrived soon as well.
“It’s really cool to see how people are engaging because I feel like sports is just so social to begin with and apps overall have had a hard time allowing sports to embrace them,” Wagner says.
Fancru lets sports nuts connect with other fans of the same teams, find the best gathering places to watch games, check scores and other updates, and access filtered feeds of tweets and articles about relevant teams and sports.
The idea was actually born several years ago, when Wagner was a displaced fan of Auburn University living in the Bay Area and trying to find where to watch his favorite team with like-minded supporters. Both tech-industry veterans, Wagner and Diamond began seriously building Fancru in mid-2011.
For all Fancru’s social capabilities, however, the co-founders believe the power of the app’s platform for other businesses is really what sets it apart.
“Our focus is with the consumer but, at the same time, we want to really give teams and brands the ability to reach these fans,” Wagner says.
Fancru’s back end allows others to create their own promotions and features within the app. For example, a team could offer deals on unsold stadium merchandise. A pub could track check-ins to, say, a televised college football game and offer free pints for every fan who once 20 people check in. Fancru already has ongoing promotional deals in place with about 20 bars in the greater New York City area, and has been discussing the possibility of partnerships with sports teams and leagues as well.
“It’s no more complicated than setting up a Facebook account,” Diamond says. “Any bar owner is capable of running these campaigns.”
Do you think Fancru has what it takes for longterm success? Let us know in the comments.
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
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