BatTalk – with Ron Goddard
We caught up with Ron Goddard, CEO and Founder of TechVentures, and board member at BatFast. A former amateur sportsperson himself, Ron is passionate about the mission at BatFast to make the sport more affordable, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone around the world. Read on for some insights into the life of Ron.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am the CEO and Founder of Techventures.
As a high school dropout and somewhat colorful character growing up on the streets of North London. I’m now a portfolio entrepreneur who’s passionate about big ideas, agnostic of industry, but really keen on making an impact and a difference.
Who wouldn’t feel inspired about working with great people on great ideas, all trying to make their mark in life… So anyone with a great idea looking for advice and maybe its first investment can drop me a line.
How did you become a part of the BatFast project?
I met Runish the founder and CEO at a 3-minute investment speed dating event hosted as part of the Mass Challenge accelerator program in London back in 2016. As a failed sportsman, within seconds I just fell in love with the BatFast vision ‘To increase participation in sports by making ‘Cricket’ more accessible, more affordable and more enjoyable for young and old across the world’
What is it about BatFast that makes you passionate about the company and its mission?
Who wouldn’t be inspired by Batfast vision. So, as a founding investor and member of the board, it’s easy to wake up every day and be motivated to have an impact on changing lives and the sporting landscape globally.
What are your expectations/predictions about cricket in the global markets, in the next 2 years?
According to topendsports.com estimated cricket fans globally sits at an astonishing 2.5b that’s a third of the global population. Compare this more conservative estimate by the ICC who put cricket’s global fan base at over 1bn. Regardless, there is huge interest in this wonderful sport.
We can accept that cricket is not a traditional sport in most of Europe but is growing due to a combination of dedicated organizers and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, where the sport is the most popular. I saw an article recently mention that in countries like Germany, for example, cricket is the fastest growing sport and there are now more than 10,000 players.
So in direct answer to the question, the world loves cricket, 39% of fans are actually women and girls according to the ICC, and it’s growing. There are new and creative formats of the game, more media interest, and it’s reaching all corners of the globe.
Closer to home the ECB’s role is to grow and diversify cricket, making it a game for everyone. At BatFast we share this value and vision. One of our biggest opportunities to grow and diversify cricket is to engage better with, for example, South Asian communities. We can use cricket to contribute positivity to many of the building blocks of stronger communities such as physical and mental health, higher educational attainment, lower crime, and anti-social behavior. Cricket as a means of supporting the achievement of greater social cohesion for communities across England and Wales.
Notwithstanding, opportunities for talent identification starting at grass route levels all the way up the pyramid to maybe one day playing for one’s country, wouldn’t that be cool!
I predict the better our global cricket echo system can work together to create amazing world-class experiences incorporating new innovative technology like BatFast, that are both fun, challenging, and rewarding, regardless of the level… we can raise the global consciousness to bring new users to the game as well as develop the talent of existing payers. Two years from now we will all be in a better place.
What do you think BatFast’s role in the UK market would be?
Continue to work with our governing bodies like the ECB across the playing pyramid to grow awareness, diversity, participation and talent
To use innovative ways to showcase this great sport we all love. For example, our UK partnership with a new entrant Sixes Cricket Club into the competitive socializing space. Family, friends, colleagues enjoying great food and beverage whilst playing cricket together. Sixes in little under 6 months have already opened sites in London, Fulham, and Fitzrovia, and soon to be two more before the end of the year, Manchester and the other Oxford. Talks are also ongoing about bringing something similar to the US and other parts of the world. Last week alone, 1000 new users and c100,000 balls were delivered in the UK alone on our BatFast machines.
Another fantastic UK partnership example is with leading leisure operator TenPin Entertainment. Here BatFast leverage TenPin’s fantastic brand and infrastructure to make cricket more accessible for both fun and any local and regional training needs.
Sporting events and community outreach also present fantastic opportunities to take cricket to a wider audience. Here BatFast has partnered with ProvisionUK to roll out all our UK events, activations, and community outreach. Provision is world-class operators already In the Golf arena, with credits that include the Masters and The Ryder Cup, so a perfect partner to help move closer to realizing our vision. Great ambition, with great expertise and execution all working together under a common goal. It’s little wonder why BatFast is growing fast, not to mention with a huge social media following our #BatFastTribe.
Ultimately, the better we are able to increase the number of our connected simulators around the UK and the rest of the world, both directly and through partners using, leisure, entertainment, and training verticals, the more impact we can have. There is even talk of BatFast creating local and regional training and leisure franchises under the BatFast brand… This then becomes a huge opportunity to grow our insights, leveraging huge amounts of player/demography data sets not only to enhance the customer journey and experience but also the talent and predictive ability of the rising stars of the future.
What about emerging international markets?
Our primary role and strategy as a business are to use our licenses and distribution model to look for local partners who understand the market with aligned values and ambition with that of BatFast.
How about mature international markets?
At BatFast, we see ourselves as a disrupter using technology to traditional business and operator models. Here we have fantastic opportunities again to partner with very respected and successful businesses aligned with our values looking to find ways to create new IP and revenue models.
Talk us through any BatFast project that you are proudest to work on?
For this one, I have to look internally at the people and culture of our business. Whilst the founders of the business will get most of the public plaudits. It’s the Batfasters within our business who remain loyal, committed, and 100% driven to realize our shared vision that stems from the embryonic seed laid down by both Runish and Jignesh our CoFounders. All these ingredients added together remind us every day, what great looks like. Young, old, women and men with tremendous humility, high self-awareness looking to step into their own greatness. Our job is to create the space for them to do this. And when an opportunity doesn’t knock, at BatFast, we always build a door!
What is it about BatFast that sets it apart from its probable competitors?
People first, innovation second, and third a willingness to always face the brutal facts, whilst maintaining an unwavering faith we will succeed.
As a member of the BatFast Tribe yourself, tell us about your first experience on the machine?
That’s easy, as a failed sportsman (Boxing and Football) for some unknown reason I was chosen in high school back in the early ’80s to represent my school in North London at Cricket. Poorly I might add. So fast forward 30 years, I’m now staring up at the screen facing Shane Warnes ball of the century… It did not end well I might add.
That said, during the most recent school half-term break. I had a ‘#DaywithDad’ my youngest daughter Grace (12) and I went down to Sixes in Fitzrovia. Whilst receiving a very hard lesson of being beaten quite convincingly 176 to 125 runs… I just absolutely loved the experience and so did Grace…. The experience from the first moment you walked through the door, to the memories will often talk about, cricket provided us with that. Priceless!
Where do you see BatFast in 5 years’ time?
Ultimately looking back, raising a glass of fizz to everyone who played their innings putting Batfasts very own small dent in the universe. We raised awareness, increased participation, but most of all unapologetic about creating world-class fun experiences…. Oh! one more thing, to see our England cricket team take on and beat the Aussies in a BatFast Esports Ashes Series! Come on SkySports or even Eddie Hearn at Matchroom, I’m waiting for the call!
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