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Building Success Stories: Nicky Rog’s Mingle Sport, the football app that will change the game!

Nicky Rog Mingle Sport

Nicky Rog is the co-founder of Mingle Sport. Mingle Sport is a social football app that helps you get more out of your game. The app allows its many users to share content, track statistics and manage teams logistics. It even allows you to vote and rate your favourite player, and celebrate moments together with friends and followers. A true revelation for grassroot football lovers!

What inspired you to start your own business? And why this business, what drives you? 

I always wanted to work within sports and I love digital and the potential it brings. So, setting up a start-up that builds an app for grassroots football felt like the right fit! Working in a start-up means doing all sorts of tasks and skills including things you have never done before. There is little to no time to really dive into things because everything is fast-paced. For someone who is a perfectionist, this is a real learning process. Learning how to do things, while doing it sometimes makes you feel insecure and question yourself if you are making the right decisions.

What are some of the most essential things you did to get your business off the ground?

Building a simple app that is easy to use for teams requires a lot of field research and actually very complex development work. It always takes longer than you hope. Doing no-code user tests and doing it yourself is crucial. Even when scaling and having 1000’s of users for me it’s crucial to have day to day interactions with users. That’s why it’s the marketing and UX team that handles customer support. Every interaction is an opportunity to learn.

How did you build your customer base and grow your business?

We first launched a BETA for a limited group. We have partnered with some football clubs in the region to really understand what features people liked and optimised the app based on feedback.When we launched our public app we really got traction using  PR, including an article which was featured on [nu.nl]. Because our budget is limited, we don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising so we did really strict targeting on specific audiences to get the most out of our money. An approach that really worked for us was direct messaging (DM’ing) teams on Instagram. A lot of football teams have their own Instagram account. Because our app is really valuable for teams that create content we contacted them via Instagram to explain our features and show them the value of our app. They get stats while creating their content. Win-Win!

mingle sport

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?

Making mistakes is what a startup is about in its early phase. Today we have a lot of insights about what didn’t work. As we target teams we have different roles with different needs. We started with the idea to develop a wide set of features and learn on the way what to focus on the most. In hindsight, we should have narrowed our focus earlier by doing more with no-code growth experiments. An example is that one of our hypotheses was that there were a lot of teams who wanted to create content to keep followers up to date during the game. And THAT is the main reason why content is created. We built lots of features around that hypothesis only to learn that reality is much more nuanced and hard. We learned that many teams want to create content but very little teams actually want to do that with ‘a live reporter’. We also learned stats are something players & coaches really find valuable. This is now something we’re focusing on for the upcoming period.

What is your biggest achievement since founding the company, and how did you get there?

Our brilliant team coming together and working hard to build and launch an app in the App stores that is used by teams and receiving feedback from teams that they really like our app! Seeing our user base continuously grow without  big marketing budgets makes me really proud.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?

The reason I never started a business before was because I was scared to fail or was  too insecure to start. However,  I learned the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out while learning lots in the process! In other words: there is no such thing as failing, but rather gaining a new experience and learning a lot. In fact, there is not that much to lose but really a lot to gain!

3 key takeaways

  1. Reach out personally to your ideal customers directly on their platforms to gain traction and receive feedback!

  2. Narrow your focus when you configure app features!

  3. There is always a lot to gain in starting your own business!

If you’d like to know more information about Mingle Sport, click here!
 

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