Innovation Challenge: Meet Team EPS

Ahead of the Innovation Challenge Demo-Day in Vienna on June 1st, Sportradar is to sit down with each of the competing teams to find out their views about the competition so far and how they’re feeling ahead of the all-important final.

Team 11 were first up, and now it’s the turn of European Project Semester (EPS) – formed of Valentin Nita, Rokas Slinke and Hubert Merzwinski, all of whom study on the EPS programme at St Poelten University of Applied Sciences just outside the Austrian capital.

The students – from Romania, Lithuania and Scotland respectively – have an idea for a sports event app that they believe can see them land the overall prize and they explained to Sportradar how things are going so far.

How are you feeling about the Innovation Challenge at this point?

We’re very excited, we like these kinds of competitions and events. We’re here to find out about data and how it’s used all around the world, especially sports data as we don’t have a background in this field and we’re always eager to learn new things.

How have the mentors helped you?

They’ve helped us in lots of ways but mainly because we didn’t really know how to monetise the business and they gave us ideas that are more realistic for us to implement in our project.

We have contacts with the mentors so if we need help, we can text and ask and they’ll be able to help us out with the idea. It actually surprised us how many mentors there were to help us, giving us some great opinions and really having faith in our ideas. We were also surprised that the mentors come from such a variety of backgrounds and have experience you might not expect them to have.

It’s nice. It’s an open environment where everyone can speak to each other and share ideas on how to improve their ideas. Everything is really positive when you can share things amongst one another.

What challenge did you attempt?

We want to help people to get in touch better with sports events taking place nearby. This what we’re trying to do during the Innovation Challenge. It’s gamifying sports data and entertaining sports the next generation of sports fans because we want to help people be more in touch with what’s happening around them.

It started from a need that I (Valentin) felt because for some smaller sports you have to visit 10 websites, Facebook or other social networks to find out the result of that competition. Also, I’m in a place and just as I leave I found out there was an event that I might have been interested in but I didn’t know about it and that’s what we’re trying to do with this application – let people know what happens around them.

What work do you have left to do?

Over the next few weeks we need to try and make sure we have a first version we can present to people and attract users.

The most important advice we got is to think about what are the most important features of the application and start with those. Then after we have some users we can improve it with some of the other features we have in mind. The first release can be good enough and useful for people and then we can add extra benefits.

What would it mean to win?

It would give us a lot of confidence and show us that we really have some good ideas so it’ll validate our work in that sense regarding what’s happening in the sports data industry. We have experience winning these kinds of events so we have a bit of confidence.

Also, it’s not just about winning for us, it’s also about the experience we gain and what we gain after meeting people who have different backgrounds or more experienced backgrounds than ourselves. The experience is also important. We’ve already won something in a sense because the advice from the mentors is kind of a prize for us.

Would you recommend the Innovation Challenge to others?

Yes, definitely. It’s very interesting and you get lots of help from the mentors and you see a new way to look at the project you’re making that you probably wouldn’t see yourself.

For more information, visit the Innovation Challenge website.

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