Back in 2004, medicine graduate Ganesh Rao had just begun a career as a doctor. After four years working in hospitals, he won £50,000 in a poker tournament and left the medical world to pursue his dreams of entrepreneurship.
His first business, a cosmetic surgery comparison site, was sold in 2015 – after an unsuccessful Dragons’ Den pitch the year previously – and Rao soon secured a £10,000 prize to fund his idea for a tennis app.
In July 2018, Rao launched Spin – a free mobile app that allows users to find tennis courts and playing partners in the local area. Business Advice caught up with Rao to find out more about the venture and his journey so far.
Who are you and what is your business?
I’m Ganesh Rao, a former doctor, and I’m the founder of Spin – a free app to help you find tennis partners and tennis courts in London. The app will match you with players based on your skill level, location and availability to ensure you have the perfect game!
Where did the concept come from?
After exiting my last business I realised life was all about work/life balance and not just work so I decided to get back into tennis. However, having recently moved to London I didn’t know anyone to play with so I tried joining a tennis club but unless you “knew” people there I actually had the same problem – just an expensive one. I decided to create an app to make the whole process easier and that’s how Spin was born!
How did you fund your business?
I was lucky enough to have the proceeds of the sale from my previous business to fund the development and marketing of this one.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?
That it takes a lot longer to build a mobile app than a website! We wanted to launch the app around Wimbledon but getting an app approved by Apple is a very slow process and meant we had to delay our launch.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Selling my previous company as it gave me the chance to build a business around my real passion of tennis.
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What marketing strategies have you used?
Everything – T shirts, flyers, PR, SEO, Social media and Facebook ads – you name it we’ve tried it.
In five years’ time, I’ll be…
Still doing what I love and Spin will be helping millions of people to play more tennis more often.
Who are your business heroes and why?
Richard Branson – I love that he has created a brand so powerful that it can be applied across many different sectors.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Stay focused. There are so many great features we want to build and so many things we want to do in tennis, but it’s important not to try and run before you can walk.
What’s your favourite way to spend downtime?
I love to play tennis in my free time. It’s the best way for me to completely switch off as when you are concentrating on the game you can’t think about anything else.
Last series you binge watched?
How I met your mother – I couldn’t stop laughing!
What three things can’t you live without?
My girlfriend, the sun and a good cup of tea.
What app do you use the most?
The Spin tennis app – obviously!
What song is always on your playlist?
Good feeling – Flo Rida.
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