Today’s sports fans have to juggle multiple apps to check scores, post to social media, buy trips for road games, and find where their friends are tailgating.
Ramin Rastin thought, why not take what ESPN, Twitter, MeetUp, StubHub, Snapchat, do and combine them to one sports-centric app.
That led Rastin, a former Time Warner Cable executive, to create the Yellfy app, which launched in beta form on the Apple store last year. So far, the app has nearly 100,000 downloads.
CUSTOMIZABLE APP CREATES UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
Most apps are built around the sport or a team and are just lighter versions of the full website. Yellfy is designed to be a comprehensive app that’s customizable for the sports fan. There’s no website.
“My target audience is 18 to 30,” said Rastin, the chief technology officer for Yellfy. “These millennials are 100 percent mobile. They use this [many] hours per day.”
“These millennials are 100 percent mobile.” Ramin Rastin
Rastin recently presented Yellfy at 1 Million Cups at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. The name comes from the athletes lifting their hands in victory, making a Y shape.
Yellfy’s biggest competitor will be ESPN, so Rastin had to find ways to make his app stand out. ESPN and other apps assemble scores, news, and stats.
Yellfy adds an artificial intelligence component that looks at the user’s behavior and tailors the experience based on what the user has clicked on in the past.
Two users could both like Louisiana State University football, but one of them only cares about the game recaps and previews. The other might be hyper-focused on high school recruitment and whether LSU players will declare for the NFL.
“The stories, the news, everything on the social network that you see is different because now the app is predicting your behavior, your thoughts,” Rastin said. “It’s a 360-degree unique experience for the fan.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The AI component could even assemble trip packages for sports fans.
He envisions a future where Yellfy emails the user with an entire itinerary with airfare, hotel, ground transportation and tickets to the stadium. All of the items would be based on previous purchases so it is already the user’s favorites.
“That’s what sports fans are yearning for,” Rastin said. “Our research shows 88 percent of sports fans will take that in a heartbeat.”
All they have to do is click “Yes” on the email and Rastin’s 20-member team works with its travel partners and ticket brokers to make it happen.
The app also has a feature similar to MeetUp, where sports fans can create their own event, such as a tailgate or pickup game of basketball. The event can be easily moved with a new geolocation and all the users are notified.
Fantasy sports fans can get scouting information for free on Yellfy, at least for now.
That’s one of many ways Rastin anticipates monetizing the app in the future.
He also collects fees from the marketplace where sports fans buy and sell tickets.
Rastin is currently seeking venture capital money to start development on the Android version.