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Life-long Co Armagh friends secure £250,000 investment for sports tech firm


Three life-long friends from Co Armagh have together secured a £250,000 investment for their sports tech firm.

Pitchbooking, set up in Co Armagh and now operating in Belfast, has received an injection of new investment that it believes will help it become the market leader in sports facility management.

Founded by three friends from the Lurgan and Portadown area, who studied in Armagh, has received an injection of new investment that it believes will set it on the path to achieving its goal of becoming the market leader in sports facility management.

Pitchbooking has secured £250,000 in funding in an investment round led by local investment firm Aurient Ltd and backed by Techstart Ventures and Co-Fund NI, managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

The round was completed by private investors across the UK and New York.

The business, which is based in the Ormeau Baths in Belfast, has developed a platform that provides greater access to sports facilities for the public while streamlining the facility owner’s internal processes.

Founded by life-long friends Fearghal Campbell, Chris McCann and Shea O’Hagan, has already facilitated over 15,000 sport sessions for members of the public. The founders grew up in Lurgan and Craigavon and are all past pupils of St. Patrick’s Grammar School Armagh.

The new capital raised will be used to support Pitchbooking’s growth ambitions in the UK and the rest of the world.

Shea O’Hagan CEO of Pitchbooking said: “Before Pitchbooking, finding a place to play meant the time and frustration of hopeful phone calls, booking slips and outdated payment methods.

“Facility managers, on the other hand, are too often caught in a painful administrative tangle of enquiries, invoices, double-bookings and other such headaches. Many also don’t have the time or resources to promote their facilities to the wider public.

“With Pitchbooking, players can search thousands of facilities at the click of a button and complete their booking in less than a minute.

“Facility managers gain instant exposure to a wide sporting public and the ease of our simple, fully automated booking platform. We’ve seen that this encourages use of the facility, drives revenue to the facility owner, and ultimately, encourages more people to get active.”

Aurient Ltd partners Anthony Kieran and Cecil Hetherington will be joining the board of Pitchbooking.

Cecil, who becomes Chairman, said: “Pitchbooking offers an elegant web-based solution to two common problems – fragmented information in terms of being able to see what facilities are available in your local area, and friction in the process of booking and payment leading to a market which functions very inefficiently.

“The Pitchbooking management team are 100% focused and dedicated to creating a better experience for both users and providers of sports facilities, and they are dynamic and innovative in their approach.

“This is exactly the sort of company that we like to support.”

Pitchbooking launched last year with Oxford City Council as its first major customer.

A recent partnership with Goals has resulted in Pitchbooking offering services in over 50 locations across the UK.

Kathy Wren, business support officer at Oxford City Council, said: “Before Pitchbooking came along we had to take all of our bookings either by email or by phone, so we were spending a lot of time checking emails and logging those calls. We then had to put it on to an Excel spreadsheet and sometimes we’d lose information.

“We also had to send confirmation emails or letters and then process the financial aspect of it, too. It was quite a long-winded process. Bookings are now much more efficient, our customers love the platform and internally admin has been significantly reduced.”

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