Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two buzzwords right now that are on fire. Companies of all types are looking to implement their functionalities as they ultimately are making our world smarter.
One company using these tools to advance their platform is in the sporting goods industry. ROUND2 is looking to eliminate the guesswork in the decision-making process when it comes to shopping for sporting goods. Using automation and AI, the site aggregates the best sporting goods available from around the web to match athletes with the perfect gear for them. Thanks to affiliate partnerships with top retailers and places to find items like Dicks Sporting Goods and eBay—including full access to their inventory—ROUND2 is the easiest solution to find sporting goods.
ROUND2 uses AI in a couple of different ways to enhance their platform’s experience, whether you’re a consumer looking for gear or one of their partners. “Digging through pages of irrelevant and expensive gear when searching remains a major pain point for athletes, and is a reason that 45% of american youth don’t play sports” said cofounder Dillon Breslin. “ROUND2 reads real-time signals to gauge user intent, providing the most personalized, relevant gear options for each search.” The site’s partners enjoy greater visibility on items leading to more sales and premium data on search trends that help formulate actionable insights.
ROUND2 was founded by Breslin and Brian Fletcher, a former MLB draft pick of the Kansas City Royals. Fletcher was also just selected to represent his alma mater, Auburn University, on their “All-Decade” Team. Although they launched a year ago as a peer to peer mobile app, this new search service soft-launched in select test markets in April and, per Breslin, “achieved $10M in gross annual sales volume within 30 days of launch.”
Providing a central place to search the countless sites around the web for a given industry has been a solid business model for years. So-called “meta-search” sites like Kayak.com, and TripAdvisor have made billions helping consumers find the cheapest hotels, cars and flights on the web for travel. Recently, Google has entered the space with Google Shopping, slowly becoming a dominant force and pulling consumers to their search engine, but ROUND2 found flaws.
“Google’s service is more of a consolidation, but we’ve found that consolidation is not enough when searching. While they have access to a myriad of inventory, with ROUND2, we are taking a different approach. We’re really focused on being the best place to find the perfect gear by personalizing results to each athlete. This creates an unparalleled experience,” Breslin explained. Despite a growing industry that has now reached $100 billion dollars a year in value in the US alone, no one has cornered the meta-search market for sporting goods. “AI and automation are key components in helping to find the right gear. With so many options at every athlete’s fingertips, it is nearly impossible to surface the best results. By identifying important customer signals and trends, AI and automation can make the buying process easier than ever before,” continued Breslin.
Backed by a top tech accelerator (Capital Innovators, Winter 2019), and industry-focused incubator in the Oklahoma City Thunder Launchpad, ROUND2 wants to end the fragmentation and difficulty in finding high-quality sports gear online for the right prices. The duo shifted focus while meeting with partners in San Francisco, earlier this year.
“The industry is only growing, and we think there will be a boom in participation this fall’’ Breslin said. The market is becoming more complex, fragmented, and expensive, he said, making a meta-search engine all the more valuable. “We can build a massive company.’’
ROUND2 will be available to the public this month.