Elevator Pitch: Doarama

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Pete Field, head of Doarama.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Doarama gives sports fans a whole new way of experiencing the Tour de France and select endurance sports at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

A startup out of CSIRO’s Data61 group, Doarama allows spectators to access pre-view (and re-view) sports and major events in 3D interactive course maps.

The Doarama website is free to use, works on desktop and mobile (iPhone and Android) devices and gives sport enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the walk, run, hike, rock climb, paraglide, cycle or ski route, using its GPS route maps.

Until now we’ve ‘made do’ with a 2D overhead map and a separate terrain profile, but television and 2D maps just don’t compare – with Doarama, it’s visceral.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We originally found a niche market with Paragliders, who are a very dedicated community. In the past few months we’ve seen more uptake with ultramarathons and now, of course, we’ve expanded into more mainstream major sporting events with the Tour de France and the Olympics.

As a startup, we do see a few great business opportunities and we’ll have to talk about that in the future when we’ve had a chance to dig into it a little bit further.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

We’ve got some big challenges ahead of us. We have to nail down the right business model and get the right customers on board. We’re also improving performance on the platform which will help us to continue scaling as the user base continues to grow.

We see huge room for improvement in many things we’re doing, and we’re getting into some stuff where some deep technology expertise is needed. We’re fortunate to have the support of Data61 and the depth of knowledge we can lean on.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We’re quite unique already. Though we’ve seen the odd video of 3D maps come around in the last few weeks, we have a unique offering with the fully immersive virtual world for sports mapping.

Though many people would pit us against the likes of Strava and other fitness trackers, we’re going for a completely different market, which will become more obvious as we grow into our potential.

When I joined Doarama a few months ago, and we were looking at market opportunities, we didn’t want to go into the fitness tracking app domain, which is absolutely saturated.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

I’ve been using this web-app GradeProof when writing our blog posts and Doarama announcement emails. It’s like spell check on steroids, it points out things that can be reworded or that aren’t clear, stuff like that.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Make something users love. When Doarama first launched, people were amazed by it, and got a foothold in the Paragliding community. As we move into different markets, we’re seeing the same response, people love it. If you don’t have something people love, you don’t have anything.

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