What do a chemical engineer and a theologian studying at Cambridge University have in common; their synergy is in their athleticism, love of sporting challenges and the great outdoors. Following their degrees Alex Rose pursued a career in financial management and Sam Browne set up an extreme race series called IGO adventures. Although cycling is Alexander Rose’s thing he has just completed a 5kms swim plus 40kms run in the Lake District, Sam Brown is an ultramarathon runner and extraordinary cricketer then one day all the consulting, big bucks and travel of their jobs were just not enough. These twenty something year olds wanted to create a business of their own, at the same time as pushing themselves and others to their physical limits; these days millennials see technology as the most exciting industry for growth so concept of an online sports hub was created.
Rose and Browne joined together to raise the initial seed capital from family and friends for “Lets Do This”, a focussed online multi-disciplinary sports database that exists to connect athletes and sportsmen with endurance events in the British Isles. Based in a “WeWork” flexible space in London’s fashionable Camden, they developed the website to offer running various distances, swimming, cycling, obstacle races and mountain biking, also including every combination of duathlon, triathlon and marathon in every locality across the whole of Britain. The business model works on a commission based on the number of entries sold to an event. Extreme sportsmen all over the country latched onto this resource which gave “Lets Do This” confidence to go for their second round of investment. Some major investors include the former CEO of BBC sport, Channel 4 sport, Mike Miller CEO of the World Olympians Association and one of the largest Chinese sports investment funds. Earlier this year they raised £1million from angel investors, providing they brought in-house some serious technical expertise. Neil Lock, formerly with MoneySavingExpert, has now joined the team as Chief Technical Officer; the investment will be spend on expanding the website to include global, corporate and charity events and on marketing, specifically through Facebook and Google. “Lets Do This” users are from all experience levels from amateur to semi-professional, typically 25-55yrs, circa 55% male, with running as the pre-eminent sport. Rose hypothesises that this demographic go beyond keep-fit, both genders are very competitive and alpha in their thinking and sporting prowess, they want to beat each other and their own personal bests. In the City it is a status symbol to have completed an Ironman event (the average salary of an Ironman finisher is £150K), the increasingly popular Tough Mudder obstacle runs were derived from this idea.
Ultimately “Lets Do This” plan to personalise communications to users, advising on events happening internationally or tailored to users’ preferences. Post-event athletes will be able to review their performance online, helping them and their peers find the best challenges and providing valuable feedback to the Race Organisers. Adventurously Rose and Browne are working with Professor John Terry from Exeter University to create an algorithm that will predict how an individual will perform in a specific event, together they certainly have the ideas to do this.