Hyderabad: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This oft-used proverb, whose origins can be traced back to as early as 1689, suggests that working constantly makes life monotonous and stressful. While vacations are an option to get rid of stress, sports, considering the sedentary lifestyle of the 21st century, are a good alternative.
A Kantar IMRB survey revealed that nearly one-third of the respondents have not done any physical activity even once over the last one year, while 58 per cent cited lack of time as the reason for not playing any sport. Yet, adults on an average spend close to five hours a day on social media and watching television. This lifestyle has given rise to obese adults and various other health problems.
Hyderabad-based tech entrepreneur Subramanyam S.P. seeks to change this by re-introducing Indians to sports.
“After returning to Hyderabad in 2014 to run my IT firm Infionic, I found that there was no amateur sports structure in the city like how New York had. Taking a cue from there, we opted for a league format. While our aim is to help adults reconnect with their love for sports, this approach also invokes the participant’s inner competitive spirit and thus forcing him to indulge in sports,” said Mr Subramanyam, who is also known as Subbu.
Three years after his return to Hyderabad, he decided to use his expertise in IT to create a technological backend for sports enthusiasts through a startup Slan. The company is aimed at bringing about a change by introducing a competitive recreational sports structure.
If you wonder how could one of techies, who have a stereotypical image of being welded to computer, intends to change the sports landscape in the city, Mr Subramanyam says his love for sports began in his school days and it continued thereafter. “In my Don Bosco days, I was attracted to Table Tennis. Despite my parents getting angry, I used to line up a table against the wall at home and used to hit the ball for hours at a stretch. Soon, I was introduced to other sports and it was an instant attraction. Thankfully, lady luck was quite favourable to me. Be it BITS Pilani or IIM Calcutta, the sporting infrastructure was always good. It allowed me to continue playing sports. Even after 25, I managed to learn three sports over in the United States.” Despite his interest for sports, the company has a robust business model.
“It is a subscription based app. The users have to pay monthly subscription fee to find games. Since we have adopted a league format, the user will keep engaged to the network for longer time.”
He also wants to make use of brilliant sporting infrastructure that gated communities have to boost the sporting activities among the people.
“Gated communities have such a brilliant sporting infrastructure, but they remain empty for the most part of the times. That’s a sad sight to see for a sports lover who given a chance would love to make the best use of such facilities.”
The IIM-Calcutta alumnus hopes to adopt a gradual expansion policy for Slan. “At Infionic, we bit too much at the start and learnt it the hard way that we need to focus on a niche segment. So, we will be focused and adopted a slow expansion approach as we expand our services across India. The cities with ready-made infrastructure will have the preference.”