Corkscrew Startups series: Homefans
Welcome to the first ‘Corkscrew Startups’ interview! We’re going to use this series as a way of sharing the stories of business ideas that have been created and developed through our Corkscrew programs and subsequently launched! We always say that Corkscrew is a lifetime connection; nothing makes us happy than catching up with past participants and nothing makes us prouder than hearing how their ideas have evolved into real life businesses!
We recently caught up with Luke who was part of the #CS28 tribe in Exeter in 2015…
So Luke, take us back to the very start!
The idea to start Homefans came from my time at Corkscrew in Exeter. In the most recent years of my life I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of fans from all walks of life. At some point I realised that everybody has certain football experiences they’re looking for. Experiences to connect with local fans on match days, travel around the world to watch football and new unique experiences that aren’t around. So Homefans grew as a way for fans to experience football at its best.
What was the initial concept?
We started out as an ‘Airbnb for Football’ We built an entire booking platform from scratch and wanted to connect foreign football fans with locals for a better Match Day experience, but we figured this was too hard to build and especially with the reputation football fans have. We shifted to organising football trips to clubs like the Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Celtic for fans. We created experiences around match days for travellers and let them connect with the club and local fans on Match Days. There was a demand for this product from the Netherlands and other fans around the world, who want a better experience instead of simply walking around like a tourist.
Looking back, what lessons about Entrepreneurship did your Corkscrew Experience teach you?
It’s been two years now since I started this idea of Homefans at Corkscrew in Exeter and I learned so much over the past years about starting a business from scratch. I literally started with no experience at all in Entrepreneurship and knowledge about all the elements that are required for starting a business.
The tricky part about being an Entrepreneur is that there are books and people to guide you on how to start a business, but in the end it comes down to you. Hard work and a passion for your idea makes the key difference. Surround yourself with people who can lift the spirit and take an idea to the next level, but most importantly have faith in your idea.
The Lesson: Running a business means evolving and understanding the demand for your product.
Very wise words! What have been your major milestones?
With Homefans we reached our first milestones within 4 months now and are building a big community around our product. With over 10k+ fans across all our channels we’re growing every month and looking to create new experiences and bring football fans around the world to experience football at its best.
We managed to get partnerships with some of the biggest travel companies like Thomas Cook and some other companies who are active in the football industry. Partnerships with clubs like Fulham, Rangers FC, Millwall, Celtic, Rayo Vallecano and others. Our next goal is to work together with the biggest football clubs in the world to provide fans with unique experiences.
Big final question… What’s next for Homefans??
We are currently working on a partnership with Havi Travel, a touring car operator in the Netherlands to launch the first Football Road Trips across Europe. We will have luxury Mercedes Sprinters with a Playstation 4 and FIFA on board for fans to entertain themselves, and free beer of course!
We have our first big football trip to Argentina scheduled for May this year. I can’t wait to be involved in this journey and travel with like-minded fans across Argentina to witness the football madness in South America. We will unveil 4 different football themes on our website and each theme will have an unique football experience for fans.