Start up world: GoalShouter

On Wednesday we held the last of our open lectures cycle, where we welcomed Daniele Galiffa. In our open lectures we have covered a wide variety of topics that are relevant to service design, research and innovation.  For our last lecture we wanted to finish with the story of an innovative digital service and its creator.
Daniele, a Politecnico  di Milano alumni, an entrepreneur and service designer,  is the cofounder and CEO of GoalShouter. GoalShouter is  a crowd-sourcing platform that helps users collect and  share sports-data to create better engagement among supporters, clubs, media and brands. Even though very successful today, GoalShouter has been a journey for Daniele, and not an easy one.
Daniele took us through the challenges he faced, but also the mistakes he made as a young entrepreneur in the different activities that required setting up a business, to finally arrive to the learning process that resulted from it.
After working in the sport technology industry and identifying a market need, in 2009 Daniele had the idea to provide a B2C self-service solution to use rich, professional sports-data, and Visual Stats was born. He began executing the idea, which meant, among others, raising money developing and testing the prototype and begin with marketing activities.  So how did this go? In his own words 95% fail.
One of the many things he learned during this stage? He understood the importance of validating the value proposition.  When we come up with an idea we fall in love with it and assume that everybody else will. Validating the idea with the final users is key. Service design teaches us the importance to listen to the users: not only what they want, but also to fully understand how they will use the service. Besides from testing, during this stage Daniele also made changes in his team, his approach to fund raising and marketing.
These changes led to the second phase of what will become GoalShouter.  The idea was to to help anyone to collect and visualize data, focusing on sport performance. During this phase he focused on understanding his costumer, developing the prototype and networking. They got approved for public grants, raised money and got the first adopters of the service. However, there was still a lot to learn, with what Daniele considers a 50% success. His main focus on this stage was to develop the business plan, and align all actions to it.
At this point Visual Stats changed its name to GoalShouter. at this point Daniele had understood well his customers and decided to focus on the small football clubs, he also identified new partners that were able to bring additional value into the idea and distribution solutions. He also continues working on indicators to make sure the business plan is align with every action of the company.
After the lecture it was clear that starting a business is very challenging, it requires a lot of hard work, a committed team and a clear vision. But what is very interesting and useful for service designers or anyone who has in mind setting up a start-up, is the attitude towards mistakes. Expecting bumps in the road, but having the ability to reframe them into key learning and then actions is vital for any entrepreneur.