Thanks to Simon Murphy, Founder and CEO of RefLive for sharing his experience and knowledge in building startups.
If you missed the conversations on the #ama channel, you can read the transcription here including the followup questions from other members.
Q. seancallanan: @simon I know the RefLive backstory can you tell everyone else how you got here and how the platform has evolved?
A. @simon: Thanks @seancallanan. RefLIVE started with us creating a smartwatch app for football (soccer) referees enabling them to digitise time tracking and recording of goals, cards and subs which was previously completed with a stopwatch notepad and pen. We then take this data and make it available for parents, fans etc in real-time, effectively automating the match data and scoring process for all levels of football. We’ve had around 30,000 referees download the app in over 110 countries.
As we progressed, we learnt the most severe problems with officiating stem from high levels of referee turnover (minimum 35% and up to 80% for officials years 1-3), abuse of referees and achieving a consistent level of performance. We designed and developed a SAAS data analytics system whereby a referee rates the behaviour of a team after every match, self-assesses their performance and indicates their overall well-being. This data gets neatly presented on a dashboard showing the league the current number of ‘at-risk referees’, an overview of the behaviour of each team and the top performing referees. Leagues can also manage assessments, mentoring programs and match reporting using our SAAS platform. We’ve had high demand from a range of leagues in Aus and overseas in roughly 12 months since releasing the first version and have quickly expanded into additional sports.
On a more personal level, I’m an obsessed sports fan who is genuinely curious about all things in tech and startups and spend a fair bit of time in the US after going to college in the Midwest (Iowa) a few years back. Bulls, Bombers, Packers and Cubs are my teams. Ask me anything!
Q. jase: Hi @simon – how do you monetise the system, and do you plan to allow integration of your data into streaming/broadcast products?
A. simon: Hi @jase. With the smartwatch tech, we’re focused on continuing to develop the product and achieve a critical mass with our user base. We’re already working on streaming/broadcasting scores using our API. Our plan is to power all scores for broadcast, live scoring apps and social media channels all non-pro teams using the data from referees. As we scale, we’ll charge for access to our API for real time scores and updates, enabling leagues to commercialise their own data.
Q. dgmackay: Hi @simon – just football or do you cater for other sports?
A. simon: Hi @dgmackay Our smartwatch tech is currently only available for football. However, we’re currently in the early stages of building a similar solution for rugby and plan to add field hockey. We have referees in Europe using the app for handball.
The Referee Management System is available for any sport, and we’re currently working with football and rugby leagues and are close to working with basketball and Australian Rules Football.
Q. joliegee: Hi @simon how does RefLive smartwatch app work?
A. simon: Hi @joliegee. Any referee can start using our smartwatch app to track time and record match goals, cards and subs. This process has traditionally been completed using a stopwatch notepad and pen. Using our app also enables referees to track fitness metrics and heatmap on the pitch and results can be submitted digitally. We’ll soon be releasing an update so that referees can stream the scores straight from their watch for parents and supporters who cant make games. You can see screenshots and info here https://reflive.com/referee-watch-app/
Thanks @seancallanan and @joliegee for the opportunity to participate in the AMA. For anyone wanting to get in touch, my email is s[email protected] (as per every startup founder), my LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-j-murphy/ and our website is www.reflive.com
If you have any referee or umpiring managers in your organisation or your network, I would be very thankful to be put in touch to see if we can help solve some of their problems.
Thanks also to all who participated in the discussions and asked their questions. Watch out for the next Sports Geek Nation AMA.