Yasi Baiani grew up playing sports, yet when she saw other people running, she thought, “Why aren’t we running together?” After enrolling in Harvard Business School, emails started pouring in from classmates who were looking for sports partners. “I didn’t pull the trigger before,” Baiani says, “but I realized it was an issue.”
To help solve the problem of finding sports partners and activities nearby, Baiani launched a mobile application called ActivePepper. With ActivePepper, users can find someone to play tennis with, schedule pick-up basketball games or create new events for others to join.
Users can register by either logging in with Facebook or sharing their email. From there, they can invite their friends to the platform and then start searching for local sports events or group activities nearby. When people create events on ActivePepper, they can set their skill level, as well as call and book private facilities through the app.
“It’s harder to coordinate over text,” Baiani admits, saying you’re trying to figure out not only who wants play, but when they can play. With ActivePepper, users can send out one request to their friends and people can add themselves to the activity if it fits in their schedule. Still need a fourth person for doubles tennis? If the event is public, outsiders can add themselves to the game.
Baiani says they’re tapping into college campuses to gain customers by building relationships with student organizations. They’re also trying to coordinate their own events, as well as look for partners already hosting events.(Social Boston Sports would be an ideal match.)
Baiani claims if they can solve the main problem of people finding sports partners and local activities, they’ll start adding other tools and functionalities to the app, such as seeing other users’ profile. For now, they just want to see people adopting ActivePepper so they can decipher how they’re using it.
The ActivePepper team is currently working out of the Harvard innovation lab, cranking away on a web application. Currently, the app is only available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. After the web component is completed, users will be able to access ActivePepper from their computer or other kind of smartphone.
Prior to attending Harvard Business School, Baiani was living in Silicon Valley working at a venture capital firm focused on consumer web and mobile investments. She watched the process of building a company unfold, gaining the experience she’ll now be able to use to continue with ActivePepper and seek necessary funding.
Moving forward, Baiani hopes ActivePepper becomes a part of users’ daily routine. “We want to become that platform that people come to, to check their daily schedule.”
So, who’s on for tennis today?