Craig Bewley is, among many other things, co-founder and CEO of bookapitch. It’s a platform that does exactly what it says on the tin. It allows people to book sports pitches.
Starting to grow
Once bookapitch went live, organisations like Trinity College started using it to manage their sports pitches.
We have been very conscious to make the product intuitive and easy to use. We want to adhere to our tagline – ‘Sports bookings made simple’.
Eyes on the UK
We are backed by Enterprise Ireland and took part in Google’s Adopt a Start-Up Programme. Our focus right now is to gain traction and market share in Ireland. Once we get an established foothold in the Irish market, the UK will become our core focus. I spent seven and a half years living in the UK, so I know the market well.
“ Enterprise Ireland is a key partner on this project and Google helped us to develop our digital marketing strategy.”
To help us achieve our goals, we plan to aggressively grow our sales team to recruit venues. Once we have enough venues using our booking system, we will focus on establishing bookapitch as the marketplace for booking sports pitches and facilities.
In the more medium to long-term, our focus is on expanding into Australia and then working out how to enter the American market.
ThinkBusiness.ie has a tagline of ‘supporting every step’, what supports did you need at every step of your businesses growth?
I have a brilliant business partner Andrew Flood, and chief commercial officer Brian Cashman (pictured above on the right of Craig). Andrew and I have established a few businesses together, and we complement each other in our strengths and weaknesses. As I mentioned earlier, Enterprise Ireland is a key partner on this project and Google helped us to develop our digital marketing strategy.
I am also very lucky to have a fantastic wife in Aisling and a couple of mentors that keep me on the straight and narrow.
Are you a serial entrepreneur?
I am not sure what a serial entrepreneur is? Ever since I was in school, I knew I wanted to run my own business. I love the thrill of building something from scratch, and I guess it’s, the fear of failure that drives me on.
Before starting up bookapitch, I was a co-founder and director in Prodigy Learning (September 2000). Prodigy is an award winning provider of IT learning and certification solutions for Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and other technologies. These IT certifications deliver job-ready skills, improving employability for students and productivity for employees.
“Try to put the right people into the right jobs – let the hen’s lay eggs and the ducks swim and not the other way around.”
I am also the co-founder and director of the Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA), which introduced adult tag rugby to Ireland. ITRA is the largest provider of tag rugby in the country and has over 20,000 adults playing in its leagues every year.
Finally, I co-founded, and I am a director of Alive Outside. Alive Outside is Ireland’s largest outdoor sports events company. We run ‘Hell & Back’, Ireland’s toughest physical and mental endurance challenge, which over 21,000 people took part in last year.
I have an interest in technology and a passion for sport. I am particularly interested in the business of sport, hence the creation of bookapitch.
What are your firm’s strengths and weaknesses?
bookapitch’s greatest strength is the people and partners behind the project. We have fantastic people involved, who are all passionate about making the business succeed. We believe we have the right business model to be successful and our timing is good. I would also say our domain name ‘bookapitch’ does exactly what it says on the tin.
Our biggest weakness is probably awareness. We are focused on letting sports clubs, academic institutions and government bodies know we are now up and running.
What do you like most and least about your job?
I love the fact that we are entirely and utterly responsible for the success of this business. However, perversely, this is also the most challenging aspect of the job. The buck stops with me.
If money was no issue what people would you hire?
Like all technology companies, getting the right software developers is crucial. I’d hire internal software developers and I would search the globe for a chief technology officer (CTO), whose vision and culture matches our own.
What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start their own business?
People are crucial to the success of your business. Try to hire the best people. I recommend hiring people on attitude as much as experience. Try to put the right people into the right jobs – let the hen’s lay eggs and the ducks swim and not the other way around.
What’s your death row meal?
Steak and chips. Not original but at that stage, I wouldn’t care.
Questions by Barry Walsh.
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