Tech start-up of the week: RunLastMan.com

1 Mar 20143 Shares

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Dan Holden and Graham Carrick, founders of RunLastMan.com

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Our tech start-up of the week is RunLastMan.com, which provides a platform and software through which charities and sports clubs can raise money through the running of the already popular Last Man Standing fundraising competitions.

The service is free for clubs and charities, with RunLastMan.com taking 10pc of each entry fee as payment.

“We offer an alternative and additional source of revenue for clubs and charities by giving them a platform to give their members an online meeting place to compete against each other for both bragging rights, a cash prize, and to help a good cause in the process,” explained Graham Carrick, co-founder and CEO.

The market

“Our target market is every sports club and charity in Ireland and the UK. Having conducted extensive research before launching RunLastMan.com, we found that approximately 33pc of sports clubs are already running Last Man Standing competitions offline, using old-fashioned and time-consuming methods; such as club PROs collecting money from players in person and using dated Excel sheets to figure out who is remaining in the competition week on week.

“Our site is fully automated, so once the competition is set up online all the PRO needs to do is send around the link and the site takes over right up until the cheques are issued on completion.

“With over 800,000 target sports clubs and charities in the British Isles alone, the market for our product is overwhelming,” Carrick said.

The founders

After completing a master’s of management degree from Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin, Carrick plied his trade in finance and accounting roles in Ireland and Australia before moving to a senior analyst position in Accenture in Dublin in 2010. 

After two and a half years at Accenture and having found a new love for start-ups, he left the company to found GroupyFit.com, an online bookings and CRM product for the fitness class sector before becoming a founding member of RunLastMan.com in 2013. 

RunLastMan.com was born while researching different angles for new customers in GroupyFit, and simultaneously being bombarded by the chairman of his soccer club to join the fundraiser.

Carrick then began looking at more efficient ways of raising funds for clubs online. After teaming up with Dan Holden and 98 club surveys later, RunLastMan.com (the company) was set up in January 2013.

A lifelong GAA man, co-founder and CMO Daniel Holden studied business enterprise in college.

Upon completion, he took a different route and made crime his calling by joining An Garda Síochána. During his time with the gardaí, he sat on boards of both business and community forums in Dublin City.

Externally, he added qualifications in sport psychology to the policing and enterprise degrees he had already obtained. After seven years of policing, along with Carrick, he co-founded RunLastMan.com in early 2013. Holden remains a playing member of his local GAA club Cuala.

The technology

RunLastMan.com is fully automated from start to finish, including the ability to take payments online from ex-pats, anywhere in the world.

The key ingredient which makes the site a success for clubs is that PROs, club members or charity officers setting up the competitions save a vast amount of man hours when it comes to organising fundraisers.

All they have to do is send around a link to the competition and the site takes over from there right up until when cheques are issued.

“Ultimately, we see this as an opportunity that we can take global, raising millions for clubs and charities worldwide,” Carrick said. “If we can maintain our current growth scales, we believe this to be achievable, realistically, within three to five years.”

Progress

“Things are currently moving at a rate of knots for us and managing growth is becoming an issue,” Holden said. “We have run over 85 competitions for clubs and charities and have had over 3,500 paid customers to date.

“Our immediate future is all based around our expansion to the UK. Avoiding disaster, our site will be readied for sterling payments and ready to trade within weeks. In addition to that, we are working on a number of other products to allow our clubs and charities to fundraise throughout the summer.

“We are currently seeking investment to take us to the next level of growth,” Holden added.

Lean start-up methodology

“Trying to forecast both sales and costs is somewhat of a lottery,” said Carrick.

“From the offset, both founders fully agreed that the company would remain as lean as possible and it is a mantra we have stuck to.

“Thus far, we have even surprised ourselves with our growth levels while very much living within our means. Despite this, there have still been numerous unforeseen expenses that at times have made us revisit our projected budgets.

“We count ourselves so fortunate with the help and programmes in place in (Ireland) to help start-ups. As a result, there are a ridiculous amount of really exciting and groundbreaking companies currently growing in this country.”

Carrick’s advice for other tech self-starters in Ireland is to get your structures in place early, allow yourself to remain as lean as possible for as long as possible.

“While there may be money coming back into Ireland at the moment, getting your hands on it can be a lot harder than you may think. So keep your overheads down and get as many people as possible to help without charge.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com