If you follow me on any form of social media, there's a good chance that the first thing you will learn about me is that I'm a passionate sports fan.
My strongest fandom in sports is towards the Tennessee Titans, the US National Soccer Teams, and the Memphis Tigers.
To this day scientists still can't figure out why I haven't died from pure sorrow.
I recently sat down with a fellow sports fan, Harold Hughes, hoping to learn more about his business, BANDWAGON.
The cool thing about sports, beside your team winning (at least, I assume that is awesome), is that it brings people together like NOTHING else in the world.
"It connects people, no matter what what religion, race, or whatever it may be, two people who are fan's of a certain team will have a connection", Harold said.
"I was passionate about two things, connecting with people, and sports."
And so he monetized his passion.
BANDWAGON has a double sided market place. On one side of the coin, they provide a platform for fans to sell tickets to like-minded fans. For example, season ticket holders generally want to sell to people who are fans of their team so that they don't have the fans of an opposing team in their seats. This isn't possible on StubHub, and it's hard to get market value on platforms such as Facebook.
On the other side of the coin, and the side BANDWAGON mostly focuses on, is the business-to-business aspect. They work directly with schools and sports programs.
"We are a sports tech-company focused on the fan experience, we collect data on the people who actually show up to games. potential sponsors and other marketing opportunities. We want to help schools make more revenue by understanding exactly who's in the stadium. We also use our data technology to help schools eliminate the counterfeit market, which helps them make more revenue."
Incredibly innovative. He and his team are in the perfect place to launch this business; college football country. They do hope to work with professional teams and also with Greenville's local teams: the Swamp Rabbits and Greenville Drive.
"Entrepreneurship was my dad's thing," Harold said. "I always had it around me. When I was younger, I would buy candy in bulk at Sam's Club and sell it at school. I've always tried to figure out how can I monetize myself. No one is training people to be THE asset, and I think that being an asset is incredibly important. I think in 5 years we could be one of the biggest sport tech companies, owning college football. We want to get sports away from barcoding."
When I asked Harold what his heart for Greenville was, I was blown away by his answer. This is exactly how it's done, folks. This is the mindset we all need to have. ESPECIALLY if you consider yourself a true entrepreneur.
"A rising tide raises all ships. I want to help create generational wealth. I'm a big homer. I'll always be a fan of where I'm at and from. Greenville has done a lot for me, and I want to continue to give back. Bloom where you're planted. I like to emphasize the importance of building the entrepreneurial bandwagon in Greenville. The word bandwagon generally has a negative connotation to it, but people jump on things that are moving in the right direction. We need more thinkers, makers, and doers. I want to encourage people to jump on the entrepreneur bandwagon."
This entire interview that I had was chocked full of great insight and advice that I just had to include. He did all the talking for me in this blog. I wish I could take credit for all this, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Harold has a fantastic business mind, and understands the importance of philanthropy.
Keep an eye on BANDWAGON, they'll be launching this upcoming football season and will have a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 16th.
The entrepreneurial bandwagon has plenty of room here in Greenville.
Become an asset, monetize yourself and your passion, and then jump on!
Once you're on the bandwagon, stick through the hard times.
Trust me, I'm a Titans fan till I die. But it all pays off eventually.
Okay, that's a bad analogy.