Estonian startup to revolutionise the world of tennis
21 April 2021
Estonia-based startup MyGames has announced a pre-seed funding of around 100,000 euros to build its solution for tennis and padel sports players.
When spring is coming, it is the one of the best moments in the year for taking up a new sport. Imagine that you decided that it would be tennis.
You have already bought a racket, found some old tracksuit in your wardrobe and got some “optic yellow” balls online. The only issues are that you do not know where to play and who could be your sparring partner.
If you are in Estonia, there is no need to panic. Two creative entrepreneurs with their ambitious team have created a platform that will take you to the tennis court before you shout out “game, set, match”.
Combining passion with business
MyGames was launched at the end of 2019 by Margus Randmäe and Janno Metsa. The Estonian entrepreneurs felt that there was a niche in the sport that they could try to fix.
“Janno is a big tennis fan and has played it for about 15 years. He started to notice that there are some issues within the tennis community and that this sport can be done better”, tells Randmäe.
Tennis, unlike for instance football, could not be played almost everywhere and building a DIY court is much more difficult than creating one’s own goals and pitch. Tennis courts can be found in many places around the world, but their availability and booking process may sometimes be a true nightmare.
“It wasn’t only about booking courts, but also how you can find a substitute player or how you can follow tournaments. There are many problems, some smaller and some bigger. One day Janno came to me, showed his presentation and offered to launch a startup,” Randmäe adds.
To make tennis more accessible
The startup began in the late 2019 with the application, which helps players to find substitute or sparring partners within just one click. Currently the app also offers an option to book a court in 141 tennis and padel centres all over Estonia.
“We are not only building the booking system, but also the map around it. So if you are walking around for instance Tallin trying to find a court, we are going to show you all available options. Today if you want to do this, you need to visit separate websites and check the free slots. We want to make it simpler,” says Taavi Tamm, the startup’s chief marketing officer.
The mobile application and the online platform are, however, not the only solutions brought by MyGames. With the ongoing pandemic they found a way to minimise the physical contact while renting a court and built their first “tennis court in a box”, a hardware product designed to make tennis courts fully automatic.
“Our first demo court is a standalone court. If you book it from our mobile app, you can simply go there and start playing. You can also easily rent rackets and balls. When you get to the court, you don’t need to worry about tennis etiquette or how you play, because no one is looking at you,” explains Tamm.
Our intentions are to become not only European, but a global playerMargus Randmäe, MyGames CEO
Estonia is just the beginning
Since early 2020 MyGames is a member of Tehnopol Startup Incubator. Recently the startup has closed €100K through the Estonian Business Angels Network. This money will help the startup to enter the foreign markets.
“Our intentions are to become not only European, but a global player. We have several ways how we want to approach markets in other countries. One of them is to cooperate with local tennis federations,” says Randmäe.
MyGames is already the official partner of the Estonian Tennis Association (ETA). And even though the startup’s plans are ambitious, the emphasis on the local aspect of tennis is still very important for its creators.
“We are collecting data and mapping the situation of tennis courts all over Europe. Our first step is to put all of the European courts on one map. Obviously we cannot do it in one step, but we are trying to find city by city to better understand the problems of local tennis communities,” adds Randmäe.
Startup’s idea is universal
MyGames will be soon present in other countries, but in the future it may also help more than just tennis players. The general idea of the project, in some aspects similar to Polish startup LocalPlay, makes it very much adaptable for other sports.
“The system that we use is so simple that we can put it anywhere. As for now we focus primarily on tennis, but even when we talk with local governors or tennis court owners, they ask us if we could also use it for instance to show the gyms in the region. We do not rule it out in the future,” admits Tamm.
Nevertheless, as for now, they want to keep focus on tennis and paddle. In those racket sports there is still a lot that could be done.
“There are so many places in the world where the bookings are being done on paper. It is not only the issue of small courts, but also big tennis centres. We believe that we can help to make this process more available to the people,” summarises Tamm.
All photos courtesy of MyGames