Go Mammoth: Luke Mohr
The founder of new sports club venture Go Mammoth on bringing a US model to the UK, and educating the market on a new concept
Company name: GO Mammoth.
Founder: Luke Mohr
Based: South London
Staff Numbers: One, plus me. Supported by key advisory board members and contract staff.
Date started: June 2010.
Tell us what your business does
GO Mammoth is London's ‘social' sports club, providing indoor and outdoor sports leagues for adults who want to play team sports and meet new friends without the hassle, competitiveness and commitment of joining a specialist club. With professional hosting, top sponsor bars, weekly socials and up-to-the minute online league standings, it's all about being active, meeting new people and having fun. There are six sports to choose from (with more to follow very soon), and entry is open to full teams, partial teams and individuals at every level – from the complete novice to the budding professional.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Whilst visiting Chicago, I came across the concept of social sports leagues and Chicago Sport and Social Club, the biggest club of its kind in the world. I was overwhelmed by its popularity but also baffled at why it's never quite made it over here to the UK, especially to London.
What were you doing before starting up?
A former stockbroker and chartered accountant with PWC, my most recent role was commercial director with AnyJunk, the UK's largest on-demand rubbish clearance company. It wasn't hard to leave, as I know GO Mammoth has tremendous potential and have wanted to do something entrepreneurial my whole life – I've just been waiting for the right opportunity and the right time.
What planning did you do before you started up?
I put together a business plan. I researched the UK market in depth and spoke to market-leading sports and social clubs all over the world. I then teamed up with the biggest – Chicago Sport and Social Club – to provide extensive and invaluable expertise on operations, marketing and strategy.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Educating people about the concept has been the toughest challenge. With anything new, it takes time and investment for people to understand. We've overcome this through direct and experiential marketing (e.g. trials in public parks on evenings in the run-up to the launch and leaflet drops) and investing in an engaging and informative website, as well as raising our profile through PR and utilising social media.
Where is your business based?
I'm based at home and in an office. It's not easy, especially as my wife is due to give birth to our second child on exactly the same date as the summer season begins at GO Mammoth – talk about perfect timing!
How have you promoted your business?
Direct marketing, experiential marketing, PR and social media. Everything seems to be working well so far, but I'm adamant we won't spend money that we can't afford. In my opinion, the more expensive it is, the less likely it's worth the investment.
How much do you charge? How did you decide this?
Prices range from £50-£600 per season for a team and £30-£65 for an individual, depending on the sport. Our pricing take into account competitors – both locally and internationally – and targeted margins.
What's the impact on your home life been like?
Unfortunately, it's meant less quality time with my family and I'm more distracted when at home, but this is the reality of a launching a new business. We were prepared for it and know it'll be worth it in the end.
What would you say the greatest difficulty has been in starting up?
Timing. This is a deadline business, and suddenly there are never enough hours in the day.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Teaming up with Chicago Sport and Social Club. This has potentially saved us years in ‘learning by doing'. The club has a wealth of experience that we have been able to draw on and will continue to do so in the future.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
The plan is to franchise the concept nationally. I can't see myself exiting a company that provides sports leagues and social events. I don't think you can find a better business for a 30-year-old entrepreneur who loves recreational sport.