Getting To Know You: Jamie Foale, Founder, MyLocalPitch

Jamie Foale

What do you currently do?

MyLocalPitch is a search and booking platform for grassroots sports. Our service gives people a simple way to enjoy an active lifestyle by giving them access to multiple sports all from the click of a button.

Our philosophy revolves around harnessing technology to eliminate any source of inconvenience which frustrates grassroots players or venues.

Aggregation and booking platforms have been available in several industries for a while now, in particular for accommodation, travel and food delivery. Before MyLocalPitch launched, there was very minimal use of this technology for grassroots sports. This is despite sports players being one of the most likely groups to use technology to search and book activities online.

We recognised that being able to book on-the-move was another key trend which is why we released our free iOS app. Its popularity is clear with over 10,000 downloads as consumers expect instant gratification.

Every feature introduced to the platform is designed to make sporting lives easier and our ‘Search by Time’ function encapsulates that perfectly. Time is pressed for City-dwellers and this industry-first feature helps people fit an active lifestyle around work and family lives.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Our inspiration came from personal frustrations. Having moved back to London after university, I was desperate to keep our football team going and organise regular fixtures but kept coming across issues. Getting hold of information about pitches, costs or let alone a person to ask questions was impossible.

Building an online platform where sports venues could quickly be found, researched and booked provided a solution to frustrations suffered by many over the years.

Before launching the product we spent time speaking with venues to ascertain what exactly they needed. These conversations quickly led to a wave of venues signing up to the site to provide an excellent starting point. Venues saw a revenue driver by bringing their facilities online and sports players had a simple way to enjoy activities.

What defines your way of doing business?

Make sure people can trust you. I believe that a huge amount in business is about people feeling they can trust you, and this is especially true as a start-up when people – clients, investors, employees – are investing their time and/or money into something that has a higher risk attached. At that point they need something to reassure them, and that is most often trust.

Who do you admire?

That’s a tough one, there are so many. I guess at the moment it would have to be Yvon Chouinard, as I’m reading his book and it’s a great story about turning a passion into a business. And then to have the nerve to go climbing for 6 months as you build it into a billion-dollar business. PS any investor reading – I do not intend to go climbing for 6 months!

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Given the opportunity to start again I would be more aggressive with capital raising as we were extremely lean for too long, which hindered our progress especially on product. We’ve now almost recovered the technical debt but, being truthful, we are still not where I would like to be. There was perhaps an imposter syndrome at the start – Do we belong in this industry? Will we make it? – but now I’m as convinced as ever that we do, and we will.