Interview with Akshay Bavkar, Founder of DOJO Sports

DOJO is an application that introduces a simple concept. They want to create a platform where class owners and sports enthusiasts can interact. Technology integration will be beneficial for all. The company has reported to have 250+ verified classes on the application and almost 300+ in the verification stage. 

The app currently has over 1000 downloads and is increasing day by day. It has helped class owners to increase their reach and has helped them to create a sustainable platform. The DOJO application has created a win-win situation for the class owners and consumers. It tries to bridge the gap between the service seeker and the service provider. The app was created to encourage and boost the digital presence of the decentralised sports classes industry on a single platform. 

Akshay Bavkar, the Founder & CEO of DOJO Sports, is also a Martial arts coach. He has been running his institute for the past few years. During his early days of training in Martial Arts, his class didn’t have any facilities, no state-of-the-art architecture. He always wanted to be a Martial arts athlete, but I ended up becoming a Martial Arts coach just because he chose the wrong class, and out of the sense of wanting more and providing more to the new learners, he started his institute. Bizbehindsports had the opportunity to interview Mr. Bavkar about his journey.

Can you share the background story on how you had the idea for the app?

During my coaching phase, I realized that being 1 in 1000 does not change the situation and that’s where the idea was born. An app was created and immediately started collecting information regarding various sports classes. So, customers can choose the best and the most convenient class near them. It helps many customers to search for a class based on their needs, on a single platform. 

What led you to take the plunge into this business and how do you look back on the journey so far? 

I always wanted to start my Karate academy, which I eventually did. It started with a batch of 4-5 kids and I held the classes in my society premises. We later shifted to a new, bigger, and better place. There were several challenges, but we overcame them. One of the most important reasons to start my academy was to provide a standardized form of coaching, which is hardly available around the country. And I am glad that I have successfully provided that. Every student in my academy is being trained based on their strength, passion, approach, and their love for the sport. 

 What is your take on the growth of sports in India with respect to international standards? 

Frankly speaking, sports is one of the biggest industries in the country. People are just thinking about how to earn more in the name of sports or sports classes. There is no standardized training provided, less exposure to competitions, personal biases, less use of technology, and so on. There are only a few academies that are working hard towards reaching international standards and giving the best possible facilities to their students. India is a country full of talented people and they just need proper guidance, enough motivation, and exposure to achieve big internationally. 

 What are your intermediate goals for DOJO? What is the vision you are striving to achieve? 

The ultimate vision of DOJO is “To build the world’s largest technology-driven sports ecosystem”. We plan to build a standardized process for training, availing all various types of equipment that are required for training and help the athlete to get the best possible exposure among the classes that would partner with us. It’s time for sports classes and academies to enter the digital world. 

What makes DOJO stand out from its competitors? 

DOJO is not targeting a particular city, state, size of class, or academy. We are keeping this platform accessible to every verified sports class and academy throughout the country. We will help them grow every day by keeping them updated about the needs and requirements of the customers and help them by integrating technology in various processes. For us, a class or an academy having a complete digital ecosystem is of utmost importance. 

 Considering the ongoing Covid-19 situation, what effects has it had on your business, and what are your plans to cope up with it after the situation improves? 

The current situation has been beneficial to our business. We are able to upgrade our technological infrastructure, which would’ve been difficult under normal circumstances. In this period, we saw a good number of class owners partnering with us and helping us in creating a digital ecosystem. Once the situation improves we are planning to grow exponentially and the infrastructure and the partnerships which we built in the lockdown will help us. 

 As we all know that certain sports are neglected so what is your say on uplifting the involvement of such sports? 

I don’t think they are neglected, it’s just a matter of availability. If you observe properly, most sports like Kho-Kho, Mallakhamb, and so on are not widely available in major cities. They don’t have a proper revenue model to grow as a business, and most of them are played in tier 3 cities. Also, they don’t have sufficient funds to scale up, and because of that, they fail to get exposure in major cities. We are planning to make them available in tier1, tier2 cities, so as sports they can grow and it will also help the class owners to grow and scale their business on a bigger level. 

What is your message for the rising sportsmen of India? 

“Don’t quit! We are coming for your rescue.” 

I know you are struggling, going through a tough situation but don’t give up. We are trying our best to reach out to you by building an entire digital ecosystem. I know the journey of becoming an athlete is tough, and it gets worse, year by year because of the increasing competition. But I promise as a SportsTech company, what we are building here will definitely help you pursue a career in sports.


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