BatTalk – with David Page

We caught up with David Page, CEO and Founder of Business Mix, and Chairman of BatFast. A massive sports enthusiast himself, David enjoys sports of all sorts and strongly resonates with the mission at BatFast – to ensure everyone is able to participate in sport. Read on for some great insights from into the life of David Page.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am the Founder and CEO of Business Mix. For over 20 years I worked in large corporate life, predominantly in Chief Operating Officer roles at companies like Barclays, Visa, and Capita. I had always promised myself that I would start a company of my own, a promise that I fulfilled in 2016 when I left Visa and founded Business Mix.

Business Mix helps large corporates to innovate and disrupt themselves. We also help smaller and scaling companies with growth and operations. Our clientele ranges from companies in Financial Technology and Sports Technology to Sustainability, with partnerships in Tel Aviv, India, and an office in Singapore.

I am also the Chairman of BatFast and have been associated with the company since 2016. Lastly, I am a right-handed batsman and a very poor spin bowler.

How did you become a part of the BatFast project?

It was in 2016 when I was setting up Business Mix that I mentored at Mass Challenge – one of the biggest start-up accelerators, globally. BatFast was one of the 100-odd companies on the list. Being in the field of sports technology, it was a no-brainer that BatFast would interest me.

When my son was aged 7, I had run his club cricket team for that age group. As an opening batsman myself (only because nobody else would want to face the first ball), I loved all things to do with sports and knew that I would love to be involved in this project.

So I tracked down Runish and Jignesh and persuaded them so I could be involved with BatFast & help them on their mission. Finally, I ended up mentoring BatFast for a year, before I was asked to be the Chairman of the company in April 2017.

What is it about BatFast that makes you passionate about the company and its mission?

BatFast has a very clear issue in mind that it wants to tackle – participation in sport. Regardless of your skill level or type of sport, BatFast’s focus is to ensure everyone is able to take part and experience sport. That is now a key driver of mine and makes me very passionate about the work at BatFast.

Secondly, BatFast is a very global business. What BatFast has done in the UK can be mirrored in different markets around the world. To be able to do the same in different cultures and environments is a very attractive proposition.

What do you think BatFast’s role in the UK market would be, in the next 2 years?

In the UK, we will be the market leader in Augmented Reality Sports Simulation. What we have done with cricket, tennis, and baseball can be done with various sports. BatFast definitely has the technology, vision, and the right team to do so.

Whether BatFast is going to be a household name or not will very much depend on the kind of partnerships we enter. What I find fantastic is that, when I sit in a taxi and ask to be dropped off at Sixes in London, people are already very aware of this location and positive in their feedback.

What about emerging markets?

I guess that depends on your definition of emerging markets – cricket is a niche, baseball not so much and tennis is a very global sport. For me it’s quite simple, South East Asia (i.e., Japan, all the way down to Indonesia) is going to be far bigger than we believe so.

Firstly, Singapore is a massive platform for Southeast Asia. Most of the other countries follow Singapore, a market where BatFast is already present. BatFast and Augmented Reality Sports Simulation very much fit the psyche of this population. I am very excited to see our progress in this market.

How about mature international markets?

The United States of America and India are the two obvious markets where BatFast can make inroads; going westward with Baseball and eastward with Cricket. I am sure BatFast will establish itself in these two markets in due course.

BatFast’s impact in these markets will be attributed to finding the right partners to drive the right opportunity in these unique environments. I see no reason why BatFast cannot make a dent in any of these markets.

Talk us through any BatFast project that you are proudest to work on?

To be honest, all of them! I am proud of all of the things that we have done to establish ourselves as a partner to the main sponsors of the Ashes – on both sides of the divide. In England, we partnered with NatWest while Kayo Sports was our partner in Australia throughout the cricket season.

If I have to pick something in particular – it’s about the way we built the team. BatFast has taken a really young team, including the co-founders themselves and a lot of employees who have joined BatFast straight out of university and built the company around this team. We have been very rigorous with who is being brought into the team.

On a personal level, I am very proud that we have got a machine in Singapore. It’s located at an incredibly iconic location, with the Marina Bay Sands backdrop. BatFast in Singapore is a firework waiting to be lit in my opinion.

What is it about BatFast that sets it apart from its probable competitors?

Im going to go for three T’s here – Technology, Team, and Target. Our target is as crystal clear as it gets – we are about sports participation, everything else comes next. Our technology speaks for itself and as previously mentioned, our brilliant team sets us apart.

We have a head start and people are starting to see the potential of BatFast. If BatFast can keep up with the same high standards that we have maintained thus far with regards to the 3Ts, that’s our competitive advantage right there!

As a member of the BatFast Tribe yourself, tell us about your first experience on the machine?

It seems quite weird, now that it is fairly easy to have a go at the BatFast machines – we have a lane in our office and partners across the country. However, back then in Loughborough, BatFast had a really small office. Jigs would rave about the BatFast experience and we could only see pictures and videos of it, but never really have ago.

That was until finally, we had the machine set up in a lane at the ECB performance center in Loughborough. Being a poor cricketer myself, it was the only way I that could play cricket in the ECB performance center. I must add, Jigs and Runish were quite surprised as I was better at cricket than they had anticipated.

Where do you see BatFast in 5 years’ time?

In 5 years’ time, BatFast will be a global driver for sports participation. We are fully established in the 3 sports that we currently offer and will expand to new ones in due time. On a commercial level, we will be 20 times the value that we are at the end of 2021. I am confident that BatFast is on its way to being a £500 million company.

What are the verticals that you see BatFast making the largest impact in and why? Could you give us some industry insights as to why?

Where BatFast is going to make a mark are the verticals that we are currently operating on – Training franchisees, Events licensing, and Competitive Socialising. Millennials don’t want to socialize the way I did growing up. There are so many forms of entertainment and alcohol isn’t necessarily the key driver in social experiences anymore.

With regards to events – things will pick up as we start to open up. However, we are still working out the best model for the training franchisees, ourselves. The technology and features that we have are already top-notch and ready for the market. BatFast is a fantastic tool to aid training at all levels. It’s only a matter of time before we discover the right model.

To sum up – if we can keep our feet on the ground and our eye on the moon, in 5 years’ time we will hit all our targets.  

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