At the outset of 2023, we introduced the innovative startup Care Sport during the Padel Trend Expo of that year. It was a significant event where the WIB-powered “Care Box” was launched; a pioneering phygital solution for athletes and fitness aficionados. This marked its initial significant inclusion in the range of services available to padel enthusiasts.
Fast forward a year, and the expansion is evident: over 10 Care Boxes are now operational, with numerous others in the deployment phase at various Italian sports centers.
In our role as a technological partner, we delved into this remarkable growth trajectory through an interview with Paolo Capelli, who co-founded this burgeoning enterprise dedicated to sports and fitness with Michel Remino.
Paolo, we appreciate your time and congratulate you on the impressive milestones achieved. It’s been an undoubtedly challenging year. How do you feel about it?
Indeed, it was a whirlwind year filled with achievements. The response to our initiative at Padel Trend Expo 2023 was overwhelmingly positive, setting the stage for the rollout of our first series of Care Boxes.
It was also a year of fine-tuning our market strategy to align better with the needs of all stakeholders, notably players, padel court operators, and racket and accessory manufacturers.
Could you elaborate on the Care Sport model?
As Care Sport, we equip padel court operators with our Care Boxes on a loan basis, ensuring smooth initiation, ongoing management support, and sharing in the financial returns.
In Padel, the racket is central to the game. It’s common for players to test multiple rackets to find the perfect match, especially considering a racket’s ideal lifespan of about 180 hours and its significant cost.
Via our dedicated app, players can choose and reserve a racket from the Care Box for testing, alongside booking their court. Post-game, the racket, and any accessories are returned to the locker.
There’s more: once players find their ideal racket, they can purchase it at a discount directly from the manufacturer’s marketplace!
This model is beneficial for all: players get to test rackets before purchase; operators enhance their service value; and manufacturers establish a phygital connection with their customers.
The popularity of our proposed model is growing, and the increasing demand sets us on a determined path toward 2024.
There’s more to this offering than meets the eye, isn’t there?
Absolutely. Amidst the bustling 2023, we also secured a patent for our use of AI in monitoring locker contents. This technology enables us to verify the accuracy of items deposited and withdrawn.
The technological aspect is pivotal in our growth journey. Partnering with companies like WIB, who help us deliver an exceptional user experience, is crucial for us.
What does 2024 hold for Care Sport? Will the focus remain in Italy?
We kick off with Padel Trend Expo 2024, happening from January 19 to 21 in Milan. This key event is just the beginning of a packed agenda. Our network, currently boasting a double-digit count of Care Boxes, is ambitiously aiming to surpass 100 installations.
While our focus is primarily in Italy, I can hint that the Care Sport model is also garnering international interest.
We extend our thanks to Paolo for his insights. To all padel enthusiasts, we invite you to experience Care Sport with us at Padel Trend Expo 2024 in Milan, from January 19 to 21!