Jatin Paranjape of KheloMore: “Access to sport is the key completely and technology provides that access to sport easily”

A former Indian cricketer, Jatin Paranjape was based in Netherlands for Nike Football. Jatin returned to India with Nike Cricket in 2014 and after few years decided to start his own project – KheloMore. The Mumbai-based startup has investors like Dream 11 and Ashwin Damera. The Playknox spoke with him to know more. 


Tell us more about KheloMore.


KheloMore is a platform which aims at bringing easy access to sports for Indians. If you want to play a sport, or if you want to learn a sport, or if you want to buy any sports products, we really don’t have one go to platform as a sports consumer like one has for food or for travel, you have all these consolidated marketplaces which allow you ease of access. But for sport, you don’t have a one stop shop. KheloMore essentially is founded on the idea of aggregating the supply side of sports and currently we have aggregated venues. We have more than 3000 venues which are aggregated on the platform.


These are not clubs or gymkhanas; these are private venues which can be booked for an hour or a couple of hours. When I say venue, I mean a badminton court, tennis court, cricket pitch, or a cricket stadium, for example. These are the kinds of venues we have on our platform and you as a consumer can book an hour or two or you can do bulk booking across several weeks as well. You can reschedule your bookings. These venues are booked by teams basically but there’s one person who’s paying for the entire team. But on our platform, you can split that payment across 10 or 15 or 20 as well. That’s the platform we are building. It’s a website and an app. And currently, we are seeing a huge amount of traction from across the country. We are in about 15 cities right now and all of them are showing growth. So I have no hesitation in saying that Indians have really kind of included sports in their lives.



As a former Indian cricketer yourself you’ve seen how the sporting landscape has evolved for the better. There is more support from private entities as well. How positive has this change been and what are the obstacles?


India has the youngest population in the world, and it is going to remain the youngest population in the world for 7 to 10 decades. Therefore, there’s a lot of demand for sports. But it is an unserved demand right now. The one big obstacle is just knowing about a venue or knowing about a coach, which is called as discovery, right? Discovery is the one big problem. If anyone’s kids want to start tennis, the parents have no clue as to who is the right tennis coach or which is the right venue to play at. I think discovery is a big part of what our mission is and currently we have a lot of venues on our platform. In the months of June and July, 1000s of certified coaches will be listed on our platform as well so we essentially become an access to sports app. That access will enable a lot of participation. I always use the example of Instamart. When Instamart started off, I thought Swiggy has a lot of money and I’ll never be an Instamart consumer. But I use it for ordering things all the time because it’s so convenient. And in the same way, if you can bring a sport very nicely packaged through an app where it’s easy to make a payment, easy to go and play sport and easy to connect with other sports people, things will just take off with the help of technology.


Our entire effort hinges on technology. We’ve always had technology as a fulcrum for whatever we do. We will productize it first; we will experiment through an AB model but do it through technology because technology can do a lot of heavy lifting. Technology is at the forefront of what we do. Access to sport is the key completely and technology provides that access to sport in a very easy manner.


You have some good investors like Dream 11 and Dream Sports, are these supporting you, have they been helpful? Does the collaboration help with the outreach or achieving targets? Have you come across any challenges in the market?


In terms of challenges – If we were talking about four or five years before this saga, I would have said that we are a little ahead of our time in terms of having a platform.  Today, we are not seeing any challenge at all because as an early-stage company, you can only do so much with the resources that you have. For us that is the only challenge – is there a product market fit for us? I will say 1,000% there is a product market fit for us. So instead of 15 cities, can we be in 150 cities? I would say “Oh, absolutely”. If we can be in 100 cities, we can be in 200 cities. For eg. Oyo is in 500 Indian cities. So don’t 500 Indian cities need sport? Of course they need sport so it’s all a question of resources, and doing things systematically, building a target and building a self-sufficient company is my priority as a founder.


I want KheloMore to be financially self-sustaining so it’s a challenge, but it’s also a nice challenge to have. So from my perspective, there are absolutely no obstacles because we have so many great platforms like Make My Trip, Swiggy, Amazon doing well.  The government’s push on digitization is helping us a lot. In the smallest of villages, in the smallest of towns, Indians are very adept at handling technology so that obstacle of somebody knowing how to book through a platform has gone because of the amount of digitization available in the country. For me, there’s no obstacle. It is all about how much capital you raise and how you decide to allocate that capital towards growth and profitability is always a challenge.


Can PPP model bridge the gap between government and corporates?


Many of my cricketer friends have come through the sports hotel scheme from Uttar Pradesh. Like when I was playing U-19 cricket, I had at least three or four of my friends who came from Kanpur Sports Hostel. Uttar Pradesh has a long tradition of incubating grassroots sports and mark my words that will those days we’ll come back again with a bigger bang because platform like KheloMore will work with the state government and associations to rope in more talent at the grassroots.



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