Ishveen Jolly, CEO and Co-Founder at OpenSponsorship
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Ishveen Jolly: I started my career as a management consultant and a sports agent. After seeing some serious inefficiencies within the sponsorship industry, I started OpenSponsorship about 6 years ago. Our whole mission is around democratizing access for sponsorship. Big companies like Nike and Pepsi with big budgets have been using sponsorship so effectively, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of smaller regional, local, and D2C brands use sponsorship marketing or athletes in their marketing mix, so we felt like we needed to fix that. That’s why we created a platform that’s accessible, efficient, and gets the job done for all. Whether it’s support and strategy, access to athletes, we make it really easy for them.
Great Companies: What are the various services provided by OpenSponsorship
Ishveen Jolly: OpenSponsorship is revolutionizing the world of sponsorship through its platform and technology.
- Advanced matching: Brands can use the OS platform to filter through 12,000+ athletes based on their interests, engagement, and follower demographics. (e.g. female golfers in London who love pets, has Instagram engagement of >17%, for <$1,000 for a photoshoot)
- Deal matching: Once a brand posts a campaign, OpenSponsorship will suggest potential athlete matches or brands can also invite athletes to a campaign and send a proposal. OpenSponsorship manages all the complicated paperwork from the rights contracts to athlete payments.
- Deal management: OpenSponsorship makes it simple for both athletes and brands to manage past and active deals. They can keep track of their campaigns, deliverables, earnings, etc. through OpenSponsorship's web and mobile applications.
- ROI tracking: OpenSponsorship is integrated into Google Analytics, Shopify, and many other platforms so brands and athletes can easily track their ROI and other analytics.
Great Companies: What makes OpenSponsorship different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Ishveen Jolly: We have been successful in accommodating underserved athlete groups such as paralympians and female athletes. We are actively pitching niche athlete groups to brands, educating potential sponsors on why they should consider a diverse portfolio of athlete ambassadors. We partnered Sperry’s with its first Paralympic athlete for a successful campaign.
Combining the power of a two-sided marketplace with the expertise of a sports agency, OpenSponsorship has revolutionized the sponsorship industry. We are driving change using innovative technology, AI, data and unique functionality - enabling access to all athletes and brands.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for OpenSponsorship?
- With OpenSponsorship’s most recent growth round, we are putting an immediate emphasis on growing our internal team, as well as our recently launched UK market. We are also aggressively expanding into the college space given the recent rulings of over 460,000 college athletes being allowed to monetize off their name, likeness and image - allowing smaller brands with lower budgets to enter the sports sponsorship space. On the supply side, we’ve added partnership opportunities for teams and events, in addition to athletes.
- In the long-term, we have big plans to diversify outside sports into music and other verticals. We are also focused on increased expansion internationally, while aiming to provide new services and functionalities on our platform. We are also committed to putting a stronger emphasis on our CSR efforts - we’ve worked with the Florida government and NHS (UK) to help promote vaccinations and ‘Stay Safe’ programs for COVID-19.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ishveen Jolly: The entrepreneurship journey can be long, hard, and lonely, so definitely be ready for that. Having a strong support system throughout the journey would be most crucial for aspiring business leaders to be successful - both professionally and personally.