Sporjo, an online education,training and employability company focused on sports, on Thursday announced that it has raised $2 million (₹14 crore) in a Pre-Series A round led by private investor Punit Balan, chairman of S Balan Group & Punit Balan Studios, in participation with other private investors.
Sporjo is a brand owned by Breathe Careers and Consulting Private Limited.
The company said it will use the funds to expand its product offerings, improve product experience, scale its team, drive expansion across India and in key overseas markets. It will also spend heavily to boost marketing and generate awareness about esports as a serious career option.
Sporjo was founded in May 2020 by G Srinivvasan, an old hand in the sports industry with over 20 years of experience who has worked with organizations like Reliance Sports Group, BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and Nike in marketing and sponsorship sales roles.
He has been part of key sports properties like the Indian Super League (ISL) and Indian Premier League (IPL). He has also managed relationships with central partners and broadcaster to promote Indian National Team games.
According to him, Sporjo aims to bridge the massive gap between candidate skill sets and employer expectations in the sports industry. As of now, the company offers courses for graduates and above.
“The skills gaps, understanding of the sports business and incredible turnaround times to find the right person to all employers. With jobs in sports projected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 6% by FY24, addressing this gap between candidate and employer through assessment, training and ultimately placement of professionals has been the genesis of Sporjo,” said Srinivvasan.
The estimated ₹100 billion sports market in India contributes 0.1% to GDP compared to the global average of 0.5%. This indicates tremendous potential for expansion. The company is all set to launch Sporjo Junior to let school children know that sports is also a job option and not just a pastime.
“We are already in the process of partnering with multiple institutions where Sporjo will be offered as an elective in addition to their regular courses. Even for the employed population, we have customized programs that help navigate a clear meritocratic path in the sports industry. Our flagship product ‘Sporjo Mentor’, an intensive three-month program to find out what the candidate’s strengths are and train them accordingly,” Srinivvasan added.
The company aims to create an ecosystem of half a million professionals to support the Indian sports industry by 2030. It claims to be in touch with over 200 companies in the sports industry where it has placed 60 people in firms like Mobile Premier League (MPL), ISL franchises, Abhinav Bindra Academy, Sports for All, among others.
Speaking on the latest round of funding, investor Punit Balan said, “Having backed athletes and a few teams over the years, I am well aware of the gap in recruiting the right talent. It is also the right time to start educating parents, kids and professionals about the varied careers that exist in the sports industry and provide them with a roadmap backed by an action plan.”
Earlier, as part of the seed funding, Sporjo had raised ₹2.7 crore between February 2020 and January 2021 from private investors including Ajay Candade, former director Pvt Equity, KKR and Angel Investor, Sundar Raman, former COO, IPL, Pranav Marwah, CEO, Marwah Sports, Lydia Buthello – head – Jio World Experiences and Navin Puri, former head of retail banking, HDFC Bank.