Freebowler Pvt Ltd(Formerly Freebowler LLP, with an US entity Freebowler LLC) is a sports-based hardware startup specializing in developing Cricket’s 1st non-electric and portable cricket ball thrower. Founder/Chief Operating Officer, Pratheek Palanethra, a semi-pro cricketer himself conceptualized the freebowler superthrower back during his graduate study days in the US.
Freebowler Superthrower solves the limitations with the existing ball throwing aidsregarding cost, portability, use of machine balls and electricity freebowler is the world’sfirst cricket bowling machine designed to mimic a throwing arm. It is made to suit the growing needs of a cricketer and helps to train you almost anywhere. The patent-pending technological innovation is directly positioned towards the growth and grassroots development of sports in the inner cities, rural areas and emerging cricketing playing nations to be used as an eco-friendly and Inexpensive alternative training old, especially promising women, and youth.
Pratheek recalls “We play cricket day-in and day – out here in India. It doesn’t really matter weekends or weekdays, we get to play cricket all the time. But in the US, cricket is still a recreational sport. There’s not enough places to play cricket and we had to wait for the weekends to get some cricket. So I missed cricket so much so that I just wanted to buy an inexpensive, portable and non electric bowling machine for myself, so that I can keep it with me and use it whenever, wherever and as long as I want to without relying on others. To my surprise I just couldn’t find anything like I was looking for”.
What started off as an itch to fulfill one’s need and desire, soon turned into an research project which was funded by the university and later by the local government organization in the US. The opportunity to develop an affordable, accessible and convenient ball throwing aid to serve the world’s second most popular sport in the world was just too good for the freebowler team to pass. Justin Jacobs, Vishwanath and Sathya later joined Pratheek, who all are again from core sports and cricketing background wanting to change the way cricket is being practiced.
After 2 full years of research and development, freebowler superthrower was finally launched in Sept, 2018. It’s been a year since the product launched globally and it’s done exceedingly well in major cricket playing markets. The company has has sold 295+ superthrowers in about 12+ cricket playing nations to all cricket playing categories in semi-pros, parents, youth cricketers, international players, and coaches covering all levels of cricket from amateur to professional. freebowler has also been fortunate enough to be covered by major national news and media channels during the product launch.
Product in the News: https://freebowler.com/pages/featured-on
The team believes it’s crucial to take this opportunity forward and create accessibility for cricketers across the globe by educating cricketers about the training aid capable of fulfilling the basic cricketing needs. The team is currently building the process of reaching cricketers across various platforms by building a global distribution network both offline and online. Freebowler has also managed to bag a ‘Sales and Distribution’ deal with the cricket’s largest equipment manufacturer based out of Meerut. Freebowler is also in talks with major cricket database management companies like CricClubs, Cricheroes, Sports Mechanics, Pitch Vision, and LastManStands for a potential sales, marketing and technology partnerships to broaden the outreach.
Freebowler aims to deliver the superthrower units to 50,000 cricketers across the globe by the end of 2021. The team says “There are just enough cricketers on this earth whether we like or not because cricket is the second most popular sport in the world next only to soccer. There are closer to around 20 million registered cricketers around the world and we are just trying to selling it to 25% of the total 1% of the registrated semi-pro cricketers which is good ambition to have”. Because there are not many viable ball-throwing options apart from a bowler, electric bowling and a handheld ball thrower. Each of these options have limitations and none of them are still a integral part of cricket training setup. Freebowler has generated $100,000 in revenue during the last 14 months of the sales period and now hoping to do more in 2020 hopefully through raising the first round of funding.
As they rightly say, Hardware is Hard and it’s a cash flow business. There’s no doubt team Freebowler too is currently in the middle of growing pains of a startup business where cash crunch makes it hard to keep the activities afloat. There’s definitely a market out there and the product to fulfill the needs of the market meaning there’s demand no supply. Hardware is tough because there’s just more than the product-market fit, it’s how well the startup manages the cash flow that defines the success of the business not the product idea.
Freebowler is confident of pulling this off over the next couple of years with some financial assistance and backing to overcome the cash crisis in truly building a meaningful, sustainable business and becoming a real cricket innovation brand. The team finally signs off “At freebowler, we believe in innovating cricket and developing accessible training aids to help all cricketers train like the pros. With Ravichandran Ashwin as the brand ambassador, we have a shared vision to serve the grassroots development of the sportusing innovative – eco-friendly, inexpensive and alternative training aids”.