Pressrelease 20190910: A Swedish start-up digitizes the endurance race industry
A Swedish start-up is well on its way to becoming a market leader in its niche. Race.se was launched at the end of 2017 by the three founders Johan Jakobsson, Erik Sjöbeck and Nicklas Tingström and is a platform that helps endurance races to digitize the customer journey. Since the start, the company has grown with three new customers every week, and the company is now taking a major step to expand internationally.
In May, the company closed its first round of financing and during the summer started collaborations with several races in Finland and Norway.
During our first year and a half, we have had the opportunity to develop both the business and the digital platform with our own funds and state support from Vinnova as well as loans from Almi. This has meant that we have been able to wait to raise external capital, but now we want to grow even faster and therefore the time is now perfect, says CEO Johan Jakobsson.
The industry for exercise races has had strong growth for many years and, above all, the number of races has increased. In Sweden alone, more than 4,000 exercise races are ran annually and the number of participants in Sweden is currently estimated at over 1 million (1/10th of the total population). The market is growing all over the world and the sum of what runners are expected to spend on registration fees, equipment, travel and rehab is estimated globally to a good bit over € 100bn.
Race.se has the ambition to become the leading digital platform globally for endurance races and has now brought in external funds to take the next step. The company’s first round was oversubscribed and closed just before the summer. Among the investors are experienced investors from Connect Swedens’s network, heavy tech profiles and elite athletes. During the spring, the company sold the service to its first customers in Finland and thus began its expansion outside Sweden.
Our original plan was to remain in Sweden for the foreseeable future, but quickly discovered that we were receiving interest from other countries. In some sports, such as Swimrun, we already have a market share of over 50% in Sweden, which of course also provides echoes outside Sweden’s borders, says Johan Jakobsson.
During 2018 and the beginning of 2019, the company has focused on developing the service for race organizers, but the vision is much greater than that. The goal is to quickly get started on the development towards race participants and create the world’s largest community for the target group.
The starting point with Race.se is that it should be the natural start and end point when you think of endurance races in the world. We will achieve this by creating the world’s largest database of exercise races that we connect with our community, says Erik Sjöbeck, founder and marketing manager.
In April this year, the company was selected as one of the companies in Sweden’s first Sports Tech Accelerator; SPIN, which is a collaboration between Hype Sports Innovation, Stockholm School of Economics and KTH. Race.se became one of the selected companies in the program which will be closed this summer.
Johan Jakobsson, CEO
Erik Sjöbeck, Marketing Manager