As a young start-up company, we know how important it is that we offer you something different. And while we believe that our app is a unique resource for organising, discovering and participating in sport, we want to do something more. So, in a new series of blog posts, we’re asking the team to talk about Hoops and their careers.
Here, founder Jonas Urbonas offers us an insight into his journey to make his dream a reality in the first of our Hoops Hangouts.
Being from Lithuania, basketball was – and still is – our culture and almost like our religion. So obviously I was obsessed, and I played it all the time when I was there.
But when I first went abroad to study in Denmark it was a real problem finding places and people to play with.
Then when I came to London, I didn’t know anybody.
There was absolutely no help there for people like me to turn up somewhere and just play.
Being a graphic design student, one of the main things we are taught to do is solve problems.
So in my last year of uni I thought “well why not try to solve this problem”.
Big week last week at @hoops_app HQ! _ I had a chance to meet a brilliant person named Steven (in the middle), who works as a fireman but still pursues his passion for basketball by founding a basketball summer camp called @theantigravityrevolution. #ballislife _ There are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline and this only shows how important building relationships and socialising is. ° ° ° ° #business #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startup #startuplife #marketing #socialmediamarketer #garyvee #vaynernation #passion #hustle #grind #basketball #sports #positivity #positivemindset #reachyourgoals #patience #app #hoops #summer #summercamp #teamsports #inspiration #motivation #entrepreneurs #reachyourgoals #chaseyourdreams
The app has been in the making now for about five years, and it has been through a lot of up and downs.
Because the journey has been so long, just to get to the Beta where we are now, to be so close to Version One, is so exciting for me.
This is the point that I’ve been dreaming of getting to for those five years – this summer is when it’s going to happen.
That’s why we’ve got all the festivals and events lined up. The first GoFest was a massive moment – taking the app out and showing it to people and watching them getting excited, hearing the positive feedback.
Me seeing someone pressing a button on that app means more to me than people could ever imagine.
I know the potential for Hoops, and now I can see people reacting to it in the same way. It feels like this is the amazing reward for all of those years of hard work.
“I’m more of a fireman than a manager”
When you’re working alone, you try and be an all-rounder. I know my strengths and weaknesses.
The idea was always to surround myself with people whose strengths are my weaknesses. And at this point that’s where I feel I am with Hoops.
We have a fantastic team here who I feel I can learn from as well as they can learn from me.
I never feel like a manager, it feels like a little family, like friends doing a thing together.
I’m there for putting out fires – I feel more like a fireman than a manager.
If I can get all of the people who work here to fall in love with Hoops the same way that I have, then I’m a happy camper.
— Hoops Connect (@Hoops_App) June 20, 2017
“Hoops will only get bigger and bigger”
It went from being one of my final uni projects into something that I thought could make a difference for me and my friends.
And then over the years it developed into a business. The idea has evolved from something quite simple – and with the amount of ideas we have now it’s only going to get bigger and bigger.
Along the way I’ve encountered barriers and problems that I could never have imagined.
And that’s why I think this new blog series is a great idea, because I know that me at 18 would have found our story fascinating, and really useful too.
We’re going to be inviting our followers to understand what it took for us to be where we are now, both as a company and the individuals who work here.
Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.
Just because Hoops is out, it doesn’t mean that our work ends. In fact, it’s only just beginning. So, if you want to keep up with how we’re driving the app forwards, click here to subscribe to our emails, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Medium and even on Spotify. We’re everywhere, and hopefully we’ll be on your phone soon too!