We got a chance to interview the founder of Gamatics, Mr. Sharath Gayakwad. He is one of those rare gems from India who has brought laurels for the country in the realm of swimming. Despite being specially able, he has won many medals on the International platform and while achieving this, he faced many issues that typically Indian sportspersons face. On the soil of these issues and struggles, the idea of Gamatics germinated.
Athletes put their heart and soul in practicing. When it comes to participating in competitions on the National and International front, they need special apparels, gadgets and costumes. In India, it is not easy to get these things. They have to either rely on someone coming from other countries to get costumes for them or rely on international shipping which in turn adds a lot of costs. That’s how the idea of “Gamatics” was born.
“We are addressing this exact space and trying to provide all competitive and practice-related products of different brands under one roof. This way, athletes can compare and assess the products of different brands in which they are interested and order accordingly” asserted the Arjun awardee and Paralympics swimmer.
Sharath was born in Bangalore, India in 1991 with a deformed left hand. He attended the Little Flower Public School in Bangalore, where his parents were initially apprehensive of sending him to mandatory swimming classes because of his disability. However, he eventually took up swimming classes at the age of 9 along with the rest of the class. Soon after that, he was to be seen participating in various swimming events for the disabled. In 2003, trainer John Christopher spotted him swimming at a school event and ended up training Sharath for 7 years. With John Sir’s support, he started liking swimming and set his aim at bringing laurels in swimming.
The physical limits are not essentially limits when you have an idea in your head that you want to implement. With this same attitude, Sharath moved ahead and approached entrepreneur Santosh Patil, IIMB alumni Shantala Bhat and Margaret John, wife of National coach John Christopher to initiate Gamatics.in, which was finally launched in 2014. NSRCEL –IIMB has provided the seed fund. With their support, they were able to build a comprehensive framework and start execution. They started generating revenues pretty soon and this is helping them in handling operation costs.
India was recently named as the 3rd hottest place for start-ups. Our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi is urging the nation to move towards a start-up revolution as the whole country is moving ahead in the start-up field. On the other hand, no one really cares for sports and Sharath found the right market that matched his interest. “India being the second largest country in terms of population can do much better in Sports. The sport of swimming in India is still at its nascent stage and needs to be more organized. Athletes would be benefitted if we can make their support system stronger and easily accessible. This entails conscious investments in sports in order to bring more laurels”
The biggest benefit for Gamatics is that its founders are all connected to sports and they understand the requirements of the sports domain from every single angle. Sharath Gayakwad is an Arjuna awardee and has 61 international and 40 national medals to his credit. Co-founders Santosh Patil and Shantala Bhat are parents of a National medal winner and they provide a perspective from the requirements of parents.
“We are very specific about our goals. We want to serve Indian athletes and hence our target market is also serious athletes and not casual sports people, who want quality products during practice and competition. We are not only into e-commerce but into complete athlete support. Our plans are to list sports specialized nutritionists, physiotherapists, counsellors under one roof allowing athletes to book appointments. They can review and rate them and based on rating can chose the one which suits their requirement. Also planning to bring scholarship sponsorship framework under Gamatics to support athletes. Building a social platform to bring athletes, coaches and parents under one platform. Maintain athletes practice details and the analytics of their performance” said Sharath Gayakwad.
We are leading in our market due to our strict policy of what we should serve and whom we should serve. We are not entrepreneurs, but we are athletes. Margaret John is the wife of the national coach, John Christopher who has equally lived the life of coaching and brings in the perspective of requirements from the eyes of a coach. Gamatics.in is currently India’s #1 competitive swim store, offering top swimming brands under one roof. Other well-known websites do offer practice-wear but are not very consistent with their inventory. As we are from swimming background, on need basis we provide consultation while purchasing competitive gears which none of the other sites are doing. We are tapping into the niche market of addressing gaps in the Indian sports industry. This way we may spread our wings in the international market too.
The audacity to target the right market is one of the most neglected sectors in Indian sports, which in turn is something that Gamatics.in has capitalized on. They are addressing the gaps found in the sports domain, bringing all the support points under one roof. Thus, athletes can rely on one organization for all their requirements. The task is also to smoothen the complete system so that athletes can focus on sports only.
An athlete meets another athlete, they start a company, and they are serving their target market. This is what essentially gave birth to the business as a whole. But, it is not that easy for the team, as there is not much focus on sports in India. But top players like Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh are changing this perception and we are seeing increasing number of people adopting their passion for sports as their profession. So increasing the awareness is a part of the Gamatics plan too. The organization is not only serving the need but also inducing the need.
Hard work pays even though it takes time, but eventually it works with people who are generous in their efforts. The Gamatics team fought hard for the last one year and today they have over 400 swimmers using the online retail to buy products and 40 + swimmers are using the nutrition enabled platform and achieving their goals.
But the story doesn’t end here, they want to be the “go-to organization” for each and every athlete in India. Sharath was confident in saying “We want to identify raw talents at grass root level, nurture them and groom them to bring laurels to the country. Through retailing, we would like to bring all brands under our roof, covering all sports and expand the business pan-Asia.”
The sheer demand in India for sports related support system and a number of athletes who can benefit if we provide the necessary support keeps us on our toes! A day lost without making progress will impact some athlete! We always welcome suggestions by athletes and anyone from sports domain and evaluate them. We are getting huge support from everywhere and that makes us believe we are making the right impact!