Ah, Golf. The favourite pastime of hobnobbing honchos. The place where deals are cut and partnerships forged. For a corporate secretary, though, organising golf sessions for bosses can be taxing. Frequently, top executives fly around on short notice, and they need courses available for them in mere hours after they land, where flight schedules can be iffy due to delays.
Fortunately, a new Thai-based startup GolfDigg aims to change that. With an app that enables one to search, book, and pay for a course a day in advance through the phone, GolfDigg lets busy executives and secretaries schedule golf meetings quickly and conveniently. Recently, they were invited to attend Echelon 2014 by AIS, a reward for winning the Online and Digital Category in the AIS The StartUp 2014 competition.
Here, in an interview with e27, GolfDigg COO Wichartbhol Surapolbhichet shares his team’s experiences in winning the AIS The StartUp 2014 award, GolfDigg’s future plans, and how serendipity is important for founders.
How was your journey towards AIS The Startup and Echelon?
It’s been an amazing start to what we hope is a long and prosperous journey. We started out with our idea of providing a last minute golf deal booking platform on smart phone, and just toiled away for a long time until we were able to properly launch our service in March 2014, initially on iPhone and now on Android as well.
By that time, we had applied to enter AIS The StartUp 2014 competition and just continued to improve our service, traction, engagement and sales performance until the day of the competition finals. Thanks to both the hard work from the whole team and the sound advice from our friends, we made a good presentation and though hopeful, we were totally taken by surprise when they announced us as winners in the Online and Digital category of the competition.
Life has changed quite a lot ever since we left the podium. We were invited to take part in Echelon 2014 for the closed room pitching event, we’ve had several golf magazines come interview us and we are now in talks about partnership with AIS and other companies, as well as have had inquiries from other interested parties.
What are the plans you have for GolfDigg in the future?
On the development side, we just launched the Android version of our application, and are now in the process of smoothing out the wrinkles while also adding new features to the platform. Besides that, we are currently increasing our golf course offerings in Thailand as well as negotiating about partnership with AIS and the possibilities that entail.
Right now we are also participating in other competitions, such as the AICTA 2014.
As for the future plans, we are currently scouting for strategic partnerships and investments, and will work tirelessly to build up and strengthen our brand so we may leave an even bigger foot print at the next year’s Echelon.
How was Echelon for you guys? Did you meet any interesting people or receive funding?
It was great! This was actually our second Echelon visit, although the first time as the Golfdigg team. We met quite a few interesting people, as well as visited Samsung Regional, SingTel Innv8, JFDI and many others. We plan to go back to Echelon next year as well.
Any tips from you about attending Echelon for fellow startups?
Plan ahead; there’s quite a lot of interesting things happening at Echelon, and numerous interesting people to meet, and everyone will be quite busy so do try to plan ahead but always be flexible and leave time for the unexpected. And bring your business cards.