Talking with Match the Bar
It’s the day of the World Cup semi-final and we got to speak with the co-founder of Barcelona’s best football startup, Nikki Parsons. She runs Match the Bar an app that makes it easier for sports fans to find out exactly where to watch the game.
Match the Bar is the app that helps you find a bar in Barcelona to watch a specific sports match. Fans find a place to watch the game and bars get more customers through the door.
Call to Action:
Any sports fan can download our app for free here.
We have several bars that have offers if you mention that you used Match the Bar to find them (ex. What’s Up bar offers a free shot to anyone who comes to a match using our app). So make sure to let any bar you visit know how you found them and you might get a surprise.
In the coming months, we’re planning to add more fun features for fans such as discounts or check-ins to win rewards and prizes. Hopefully that will be here early in the next season of LaLiga.
Down to business
How did you come up with the idea for Match the Bar?
Originally I came with up with the idea of Match the Bar when I was taking a part-time programming bootcamp at Ironhack here in Barcelona in 2016.
For the course, you had to create a website as part of your final project. So I started brainstorming problems I had living in Barcelona as an expat.
I’m originally from the UK and as a huge football fan, I often had trouble finding a bar to watch my favourite teams.
Unless you exclusively support FC Barcelona, it can be really difficult to find a bar to watch a match you want to see. Matches often overlap, so you have to call the bar. Or you search through Facebook and try to investigate if they will even be able to show your match. I often ended up watching football at home on an online stream, because it was too much effort to find a bar.
This doesn’t just happen with football, it happens with many sports. For example, just this weekend the men’s final of the Wimbledon tennis tournament overlaps with the World Cup final, so if you’re a tennis fan in Barcelona, it’s going to be near impossible to find the few bars willing to televise it.
So, I thought that having an easy way to search for sports bars would be really useful for me and many people that I know. Therefore, I began working on “Matchfinder” as I originally called it and when the Ironhack program came to an end in October 2016 I managed to win the hackshow on a public vote.
As a result, I saw the public confidence in the idea and continued to work on it as a passion project in my spare time, while taking a lot of the courses at Barcelona Activa and devising the business plan to make sure a company would be a viable business. Finally, in November of last year, I left my job and started to focus full-time on what was now “Match the Bar.”
Who’s in your core team and what do they do?
Our other co-founder is Alex Carol, who is our technical genius. He’s been working as a backend engineer at SocialPoint for over five years and has developed our iOS and Android apps during his spare time.
Obviously, in this business a website alone would not have as much success, so we’re really lucky to have him onboard developing the mobile product.
It’s a huge advantage to have him as our co-founder because we complement each other really well and can challenge each other for things we want to develop.
Alex has an amazing network of friends who are also developers and they often help us out with features just for fun.
The other member of our core team is Marguerite. She is out creating awesome relationships with our bar owners and getting people excited about our app.
One of the most rewarding parts of this business is that we really get to know our customers, and sometimes the roles are even reversed and we are in a bar enjoying a match as their customers.
So, we have a lot of opportunities to meet with our bar owners in person and talk with them, bouncing ideas back and forth about what we should do as our next priority to help them get more clients in their bars.
What is has been the most exciting thing about building a startup?
The most exciting thing about building a startup has been seeing it all come together.
We’re finally at that tipping point now where we have a good number of the bars on the platform, so once we add some better filters, fans can really choose a place that’s perfect for them.
I myself have discovered bars in parts of the city I never used to go to, and considering that the company emerged out of an existing problem that I had, it’s an amazing feeling to know that our team created the solution.
Now everytime people ask where to watch the match – and it happens to me all the time in person or on social media, especially these days with the World Cup – I tell people to download our app, it’s easy.
World Cup Questions
This has been a crazy World Cup with a lot of upsets and big teams exiting prematurely. What’s been the biggest surprise for you so far?
I think the biggest surprise was Germany losing 2-0 to South Korea. I couldn’t believe what I was watching, and even right until the end I thought Germany would suddenly come back into it.
Is football really coming home? Who will take home the trophy in your opinion?
I’d love to tell you football’s coming home. You’ve probably not heard it enough this week (haha). But, I think my money is on Croatia to win today, although I’ll be the first person dancing in the streets if we get to the final.
Do you have any favourite football trivia?
No, I’m sorry I can’t give you an amazing piece of football trivia, but I do love a good pub quiz (and it doesn’t have to just be on a sports-related topic). I recommend checking out the pub quiz they do at the Michael Collins, I always hear great things about it.
What resources would you recommend to entrepreneurs in Barcelona?
I think entrepreneurs in Barcelona have a huge wealth of resources available to them. In particular, all the courses at Barcelona Activa, which are free, and to an expat like myself were of a huge help.
But, I would also suggest entrepreneurs take advantage of all the networking opportunities we have. There’s constantly something going on in Barcelona, and plenty of chances to meet people who can be customers, resources, sparring partners or just to learn something and have a chance to reflect. My favourites have been Startup Grind, First Tuesdays and the MeltinLab events.
I’d recommend people to subscribe to one of these online newsletters like Barcinno or Barcelona Startup News to make sure you’re in the know about what’s going on.
Do you have any favourite online resources?
When you’re not watching football, what do you like to do in Barcelona?
When I’m not watching football, I’m usually playing it (rather poorly I might add).
I played in the Celebreak mixed league last season and that was a lot of fun. But apart from the world of football, I enjoy writing and I have a personal blog where I share not just sports-related content, but also startup lessons, social media marketing tips and recommendations.
Finally, how can we find you online?
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/matchthebar/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/matchthebar
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/matchthebar/
Company LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/27147281/
Personal LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikkiaparsons/
Company blog – https://medium.com/@matchthebar
Thanks Nikki! We’re keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed for England tonight!
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