Its not every day that a business starts with a mailing list of 10,000. The founders of Boutline managed this within 100 days. Boutline is a platform for sports fans to follow teams, find other like-minded fans and share interesting moments with them. What was the method to their madness? A mailing list is a way to inform people that a company has launched. Boutline was a part of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Batch 4 and they were featured in many magazines, blogs and websites. This is how the mailing list was gradually built. The founders Anand Satyan, 25, and Febin John James, 23, became regular attendees at startup events; they volunteered at many of them, wore Boutline T-shirts and talked about their venture to whoever gave them a minute of their time. They even added a ‘Coming Soon’ page and created a football fan map where enthusiasts showed their support for their favourite teams by tagging themselves and subsequently becoming users of Boutline. They even got a few sports bars to give highly discounted rates to Boutline members. Assorted gifts were given at meetups organised in these bars. Thus the 10k number became possible.
A Chennaite, Anand completed his Engineering in Information Technology from Mumbai University. Febin, a native of Kerala has lived most of his life in Bangalore and has a Bachelor of Computer Application degree from T John College, Bangalore. Anand’s previous startup Deliverwithme, a crowdsourced e-commerce delivery platform was shut down recently and Febin took the plunge into entrepreneurship when in college. Febin surprised many when he rejected a premium B-school admission offer after scoring a 99 percentile in CAT. His sights were on starting something on his own.
As soon as you sign up on Boutline, a simple sign up form asks a question about your favourite team and Boutline scourges the web for people, conversations, news, stats and personalises it to your interests. Every time you engage with the website, you get ‘Boutpoints’ which could accumukate into exciting prizes offered to those on the top of their leaderboard.
Free for all fans, “We plan to build premium features for the super fans at a later stage,” adds Anand. Planning to hit the 100k number fast, the duo aim to monetise through various engagement models. “There are a lot of teams, franchisees and brands that are looking for fan data,” says Febin.
They consider Fancred (US) and Sportlobster (UK) as their competitors although they believe that the technology and product design is entirely different. Started with an initial investment of `2 lakh, they are planning to breakeven by the end of 2015. Anand wants Boutline to be a place where all your sporting needs are met. firstname.lastname@example.org There are a lot of teams, franchisees and brands that are looking for fan data — Febin John James, co-founder, Boutline.com