Old Winderian Angus Strudwick is part of a team developing an exciting new university start-up app called Armago, which aims to make sport more accessible for university students. The app is due to be launched this month and is designed to help people find others to play sport with based on location, ability and availability. It is being supported by Bristol University in the launch and they have received interest from Sport England while they expand across other universities coming out of lockdown. Funding at this stage has been particularly challenging as the usual pots for new innovations in sport are closed. However, with the impact of Covid-19 on sport in the country, an app of this sort is needed more than ever coming out of lockdown to enable clubs and sports groups to bounce back.
Angus and his team at Armago believe that everyone should be able to play as much sport as they want at university. Right now, Covid aside, this is not the case. The 2018 Sport England survey stated that 90% of university students ‘want to play more sport than they currently do’. This correlated directly with their own research in 2019/20, clearly indicating that this is still a problem. Over the last 15 months the team has been searching for the best way to break down the barriers preventing students from participating in sport and are confident that the solution we have come up with will make sport more accessible, flexible and feasible for students at any university.
The Armago app: How does it work?
The app is free to all students. When they register they put in the sports they are interested in, the level they play at, their usual availability and where they are located. Using this information, the app finds best matches for them at any given time. They then use the in-app messaging service to easily organise their game. Of course, they can adjust their availability at any time.
· Organising a last-minute game (lecture cancelled; haven’t got organised)
· Meeting other students with similar interests
· Acting as a gateway into joining clubs
· Those who can’t fully commit to a club (financial; time constraints)
· Creating a more global sports community, coming away from the inherent elitism associated with some sports
· Improving motivation
Whether it be for a game of tennis, a jog in the park or a 5-a-side game of football, students can match at any time to be able to play sport.
Armago for clubs
Recognising the vital role that clubs play in university sport, the Armago app will support the running of clubs, making it easy for the committee. There will be an annual club membership fee based on numbers in the club.
· Allowing committee members to focus on the needs of their members rather than administration
· Organising training sessions
· Promoting social events
· Creating trial sessions for new members
· Ensuring that events are not over-subscribed
· Bringing in new club members
· Building more of a community
· Providing continuity between changing committee members
Armago Access into Sport scholarship
From the start Armago will be offering an ‘access into sport scholarship’ for every club registered. This will enable one individual per club to access club membership where finances would otherwise preclude them.
Strategy for Roll-out
Launching initially in Bristol, the app development is on target to coincide with the lifting of lock-down restrictions. Starting with tennis before expanding into other sports, the aim is to support clubs in their bounce-back from Covid. Bristol University Tennis Flub is already on board for the initial testing, with support from Bristol University sports management and the Students Union to make this a reality for clubs throughout Bristol. Sport England have expressed interest in the app, but are not in a position to offer any funding until Angus and his team are ready to take it nationwide. Tennis clubs at Exeter, Bath, Edinburgh and Plymouth are already keen to become early adopters.
The mission is to make Armago the app which all students use for sport at all universities within the next 2 years.
Business and Growth
Costs for stage 1 are budgeted at £12,000 for essentials only (no allowance for time) and include:
· App development costs including prototype
· Digital infrastructure (Domain, Web; Appstore, Googleplay, Server space, etc)
· Business set up (trademark, etc)
· Marketing & admin
· Launch costs
At this stage we are keen to raise funds as much as possible through fundraising/sponsorship as opposed to company equity which will be required at stage 2 for rapid growth. Stage 2 will involve further app development to incorporate new features and include sufficient capacity for the numbers involved, paid staff and more significant marketing costs.
If you are interested in offering financial support for this exciting project, please follow the link to the Armago Fundraising page here.
For more information please contact Angus Strudwick at firstname.lastname@example.org.