An interview with a Sports Entrepreneur from IISM

Published On: December 16, 2020
Sports Entrepreneur

It has been a decade since IISM is training sports lovers aiding them to make a mark of their own in the sports industry. We have so far trained 1500+ Sports Management professionals who are part of esteemed organizations in the industry or have carved a niche for themselves becoming Sports Entrepreneurs. Mr. Varun Singh is our former student who had pursued Master’s Degree in Sports Management Batch 2017-19 from IISM. Varun is the Co-Founder of RaC Rides.

RaC Rides aims at providing semi-professional and professional bicycles without the hassle of having to maintain them. Availability of different brand of bicycles give the consumer an array of options to choose from. Varun states that, “the initiative started off as college project at IISM in 2017 and from there it has been a long and exciting journey.

Valuable inputs from the faculty have been of great help for us in taking critical business decisions. Mr. Mohan Pichumani, our marketing professor, mentored us at many stages like product development, branding, re-branding and expansion. I also feel fortunate to have met pro-active classmates in the MSM 2017-19 batch as lot of initial ground level work was done by them which has laid a strong foundation.”

RaC Rides | Rent A Cycle was featured in the annual listing of ’10 Best Online Startups 2020’ by the magazine Startup City’s November edition. This is a monthly Magazine for Startups & Young Entrepreneurs and is said to be the Best Business Magazine for Startups and Entrepreneurs in India. November’s edition of the magazine wholly covered the story of Varun Singh’s initiative and his journey towards success.

Here’s an interview with Varun Singh that aims to show a way forward to young sports lovers who dream big.

1. What does sports mean for you?

Sport has played a very critical role in my personal development. Talking from the perspective of my personal journey, it has given the discipline needed to achieve my goals. Sports has helped a lot in shaping my thought process when it comes to team work and to develop an inclusive approach of getting things done. The playground provides an opportunity to live some real-life situations under simulation. With these critical inputs, sports have been a very vital part of my life.

2. When did you decide to study sports management?

After working in some corporates for a couple of years after my graduation I needed to do something that was close to my heart. Because sports were something I had been into for a long time, I felt that exploring the management side of it would be exciting.

3. What exposure did you get at IISM?

Through IISM, I got familiar with the backstage working of the different sports events. At IISM, I got really intrigued into the marketing side of things, all thanks to our marketing professor, Mr. Mohan Pichumani. His explanation of core concepts gave us clear insights to establishing and developing a new brand like RaC Rides.

4. How did you start your journey in sports industry?

At RaC Rides we have been building on the fitness aspect of cycling. We feel this is a workable way to get inroads into an industry that has been growing consistently but now needs a revamp. Also, because India needs more ways of cleaner transport, RaC Rides can be a game changer in bringing a cycling revolution in the country.

5. When did you conceptualise RaC Rides?

My partners- Pulak Mehan (CA) & Anant Tripathi (Lawyer) and I conceptualized RaC Rides while in the first year of pursuing my Master’s Degree at IISM. We began working on it as a project. Little did we know that it would become a full-fledged start-up.

6. Tell us about your experience & journey as a Sports Entrepreneur?

The most important aspect of being a Sports Entrepreneur has been the approach towards things. Formulating win-win deals for expansion has been a critical part of it. Also managing men, money and material is also vital to this kind of work.

7. How is RaC ensuring a place for itself in the industry?

RaC Rides is solving a problem which the country has been facing for a long time now, which is of, cleaner ways of transportation and a new way to work out and maintain fitness levels. Having said that, there have been initiatives by companies and certain government authorities but they don’t look at the fitness aspect of cycling. The fact that we provide semi-professional and professional bicycles, gives us bandwidth to rope in a new segment of customers.

8. Scope of recreational sports like cycling in India.

As gyms and different methods of keeping fit have been becoming obsolete with the current state of pandemic, cycling is a good way to staying in a proper physical state while adhering to social distancing norms. The way local cycling groups and communities have sprung up in the recent past also point to the same trend.

9. Can cycling become as huge as running in India?

Yes, cycling can become as huge as running in India as there is an under-current for the activities. The country just needs proper infrastructure for the same, which we are eying to provide.

10. What sets RaC Rides apart?

The fact that RaC Rides harp on the fitness aspect of cycling in addition to the transportation problem sets us apart.

11. Any collaborations that you’re up for?

Recently in our first phase of expansion, we have tied up with fitness food cafes. We are helping them increase their footfall through our online reach while these cafes work as pickup points with us. We are also open to tying up with residential societies, corporate campuses and college campuses.

12. Where do you see your venture in the upcoming time?

Currently we have been working on the valuation and planning to pitch to investors. Prior to that we were working on automating the order placement process. In the long run, we see RaC Rides at a stage where any bicycle being used in the country would be through us. Through our “Rent to buy” scheme brands can push their products to the market through us.

13. Where do you see yourself in the future? What mark do you wish to make in the sports industry?

We are currently focusing on the things at hand but in the future, I would like to tap unexplored opportunities and consider other areas of interest in the industry and try to introduce initiatives in it in an inclusive manner.

14. What piece of advice would you like to give to young sports aspirants/ future professionals/ future sports entrepreneurs?

Though there is still a lot for us to learn, there is one thing that is key to any field of work, that is, taking action. If there is no action, there is no result and subsequently no progress. Therefore, acting upon one’s ideas is the starting of the change that is required.

An Interview with Mr. Varun Singh, Co-Founder- RaC Rides
Former IISM Student
Master’s Degree in Sports Management Batch 2017-19

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