Scoutium helps football clubs to reach new talent and raised USD 2.9 million to reach expansion in Europe
Football, as the popular type of entertainment in the world, requires effort to follow new talent. But it is difficult for many football clubs to reach such talent in an easy way. Especially amateur leagues remain unheard in reaching to a wider audience. A Turkish start-up, Scoutium, takes to the stage and help amateur clubs to make themselves heard. On the other hand, Scoutium is helping more than 25 clubs in Turkey, including Beşiktaş one of Turkey’s leading teams-, to find out new talent. The start-up aims to expand to Europe by signing new deals in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. “We brought to life a unique business model that is a first both in Turkey and in the world with a domestic start-up. We aim to reach and serve all the clubs and players and continue our growth in Turkey as a priority,” said Efe Aydın, CEO at Scoutium. I interviewed Aydın and here’s what he told me.
What is Scoutium? Can you tell me the story of Scoutium?
As Efe Aydın, Emre Ün and Safa Yerliyurt, we established Scoutium at the end of 2017 in order to identify talented football players who are left in the dark and to bring these players to top level football. The starting point of the idea is a complete coincidence. While Emre, Sefa and I were thinking about many different ideas, we learned that one of our friends who was a sports attorney was suggesting football players to a prominent Turkish club, and after learning that we figured that football fans could suggest players to clubs too. Then, together with what we learned about the industry, our idea evolved into what it is today.As three young entrepreneurs from Bursa, we participated in various entrepreneurship competitions with this idea, and then we started to work in Teknokent by getting the title of core venture at Istanbul Technical University. Our main goal was to do what we love with the people we love and I think we achieved this goal to a great extent. We currently have a main team of 25 people that we work with with pleasure. We are a family of more than 300 people, together with our video experts and scouts who support the growth of our business.
What is Scoutium’s business model? How does it work?
There are 45 million players under the age of 18 who play in amateur leagues in the world and out of those 45 million players, there are no recorded data and 90 minutes of video about 44.9 million of them .Following footballers with traditional methods costs clubs a lot of money and time. Clubs and federations find it difficult to discover talent, and football players find it difficult being discovered. Users who log into Scoutium for free as football fans can record 90 minutes of the matches as video experts and qualify for scouts by passing through qualifiers and training. Thus, they create a unique data pool with 90 minute videos and analyzed football players. As Scoutium, with more than 150 video experts and more than 170 scouts, we offer clubs and players data which is especially hard to achieve for the lower leagues and lower age groups in Turkey’s 81 provinces that are very difficult to reach. While the clubs discover the most suitable players by examining the 90 minute match videos and player analysis from the system, the football players are provided with the opportunity to improve their deficiencies by examining their own match videos and analysis. In addition to all these, football players are one step closer to being discovered by receiving notification when they are watched by clubs. With Scoutium’s unique business model, clubs and football players come together under one roof.
How many local teams do use Scoutium? Are there any global teams using your platform?
As Scoutium, we have so far worked with over 25 football clubs including Beşiktaş JK. We will increase our global activities by making deals with clubs from the Netherlands, Poland and Germany in a short time span.
I noticed you have different segments for club officials, scouts, video experts, football player and football fans. How do those segments work?
As you have mentioned, there are 5 different user types in our system. Football fans can increase their levels by evaluating the players and thus can apply to become a scout. If they pass interviews and qualifiers, they get the opportunity to work as a scout at Scoutium. Football fans can also earn income through the system as video experts. We provide our match video scout analysis created by our video experts and scouts to clubs and football players. Thus, while creating income opportunities for football fans, we also contribute to clubs by giving them the chance to discover talents and football players to be discovered by clubs and federations.
Last year you raised 2 million USD and your total investments reached 3 million USD so far. Are you planning future investmets? How will you use those investments?
The office support and financial support we received from ITU ARI Teknokent in the Big Bang competition, which we participated in, and the ITU Çekirdek initiative in November 2017, was very important and valuable for us at those stages. Then, in September 2018, Nokta Investment Holding made an investment of 900 thousand dollars by believing in our idea and us at an early stage. In June 2020, under the leadership of Twozero Ventures, we carried out a $ 2 million investment tour including Yemeksepeti Founder Nevzat Aydın, iyzico founders Barbaros Özbugutu and Orkun Saitoğlu, and former McKinsey partner Selin Kiper. Our investors not only support us financially, but also support us even in our minor problems morally. Our first short-term target is to continue to increase our growth in Turkey, then after showing growth in Germany, and after that finally spreading to the whole world by taking larger investments and spreading to all sports.
Are the similar startups to Scoutium abroad? Are you planning to expand to different countries?
We brought to life a unique business model that is a first both in Turkey and in the world with a domestic start-up. We aim to reach and serve all the clubs and players and continue our growth in Turkey as a priority. In line with our global goals, we want to expand to the whole world and sports branches by achieving the same success in Germany and Poland, where we continue to work, and by taking larger investments.
How did COVID-19 affect your business?
Covid-19 outbreak has deeply affected football like all other industries. The football economy has suffered a great deal during this period, but I predict that it will reach its former size quickly. This process has accelerated the digital adaptation of the masses. The increase in online usage habits of the masses will positively affect our branch. That’s why I expect many technology companies to emerge stronger from this process. This periodic shrinkage further increased the importance clubs attach to infrastructures. I think the processes of discovering football players will shift to digital more. The biggest negativity of the process on startups was that it slowed down the growth curve. Since startups are structures that are rapidly funded, growing with this funding, and re-funded with this growth, they had to shrink financially when growth slowed down, but they will exit this period stronger with the technological transformation effect brought about by the process.
That’s all I want to know. If you have anything extra, please add.
Of course, we always want to see our young and dynamic friends who want to join our team under the Scoutium roof. Our team is constantly growing and we continue to look for talented colleagues at this point. They can apply to work with us by seeing our open positions on careers.scoutium.com. In addition, with our newly developed product, we offer football players the opportunity to watch their matches, to see their shortcomings by examining their scout analysis and to receive notifications when they are monitored by clubs. We invite all licensed football players to view our system through our application.
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