Revoco Talks…not chasing ‘the social network’ journey with Risum’s Stuart Megarry
We’re joined by sports community entrepreneur Stuart Megarry for this instalment of Revoco Talks.
Here he tells us more about his venture – Risum, and how it’s connecting sports players across the nation.
Find out more about Stuart’s career path, advice for other entrepreneurs and plans for the future below…
Can you tell us about your career background?
Where to begin, I have a rare background in I started a venture quite young and learnt a lot but then spent some time on the other side of the table in Venture Capital & Strategy consulting before then returning to Entrepreneurship – I have been running start-ups in London now for the past 5 years and with that I have been mentoring other start-up founders for the past three years.
Can you tell us more about Risum and how the idea for it came about?
Risum is a passion project of mine which it feels has been building throughout my career – in my previous ventures I have focused on community / bringing people together quite a bit, so when I spotted the potential to combine this with my obsession for Sport – Risum was born. We started bringing together solo players for sport sessions like Tennis, Football, Netball and Touch rugby in London.
The community has been fantastic and has grown a lot in a short time, so we expanded the offering to a marketplace which allows locals to host sport sessions (think full management platform with player sourcing, communication and payment management).
What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far as a start-up founder and how did you overcome these?
It would be hard not to answer Covid-19 for this question, but honestly, we made the most of the lockdown time to build our tech stack quicker, so I cannot say Covid was a bad challenge yet more of a positive acceleration of plans for Risum.
Quite simply, it is just a challenge for a founder to make a living from self-employment (I am no different even with experience), so I have massive respect for anyone who can meet this challenge and thrive.
What’s been Risum’s biggest achievement so far?
The community – Risum would be nothing without the players, so I am very proud of the fact we have not only regulars at each session, but also individuals who understand the mission and always welcome new players with open arms.
The platform and Entrepreneur lifestyle is great, but honestly, I am happiest / full of pride when I see all the players mixing together & building friendships in the bar afterwards.
What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneur looking to get their venture off the ground?
Stop chasing the “Social Network” journey. The best entrepreneurs I have seen know how to generate cash for being self-employed instead of chasing investors – focus on building a revenue-positive company from the start, so you do not need to waste time approaching investors…you will be shocked at how many investors then start to approach/chase you when you start to make the right noises with your start-up.
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How have you had to react and adapt your business and ways of working in response to the coronavirus pandemic?
Like everyone, we had to shut down overnight – our phase one focus was actually on building out a Risum subscription (think like paying for a gym membership but for social sports). As soon as our partner venues closed we stopped the subscription and focused on using the time to build our technology offering.
I think good Entrepreneurs find solutions to problems and Covid is no different.
What do you like about being based in London? Do other tech hubs in the UK or Europe appeal to you?
I am lucky to know the United Kingdom well having lived in Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow before coming to London. The work being done in these tech hubs is unbelievable and they have true Entrepreneurs in the regions who follow the smart revenue-positive approach.
However, capital is still mainly focused in London thus making it the best place to be and I love calling London home. Risum is appealing to residents of big cities who are more open to playing with people they do not know, and it is amazing how many global citizens you get to engage within this city which is helpful for future expansion.
Belfast is a superstar in hiding with potential to compete on a global scale – my hope is to engage and build this community in the future
What’s next for Risum?
We are moving to now focus on bringing in more local hosts in several territories to expand the platform and we plan on bringing in a few new team members in the coming months – that is a long way to say we are rapidly EXPANDING!!
Want to find out more about Risum, click here.
Find out how we’re supporting start-up growth, here.