By Jack Hopkins
Do you ever have trouble finding enough people to play a sport you love playing? Spabbit, an app that connects people with similar sporting interests, is available on iPhones and Android devices. It has a range of features designed to help users find any nearby games to join, or challenge other users to a match. The app includes a map view that lets you know precisely where sporting events are happening in real time.
Co-founders James Gibbons and Chris Cheng, both University of Waterloo graduates and avid sports fans, started working on the app last year in New York City where they reached out to the community to get feedback on their idea. Despite having been initially developed in New York, the app can be enjoyed in Toronto. It supports over 20 sports and hundreds of venues across the city.
Gibbons’ love of tennis sparked the idea for Spabbit.
“It was always tough finding people at the right level to play tennis with, and that was one of the big catalysts that we faced that spurred us to create Spabbit,” Gibbons said. “It then took us about six months to develop the app and bring it to market.”
The app requires users to make a profile that is filled with their desired sport, ranging from hockey to yoga. The user can then view sporting events and challenges on the map, or create their own event. Conversations can also be carried through the app for meet-up discussion.
Spabbit was made available on iTunes and Android devices this past July. Gibbons and Cheng listened to early customer feedback and have updated it a couple times, with the app now at version 3.0.
Since then, Cheng and Gibbons have moved back to Toronto and are working in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, where they are continuing to innovate and have some new ideas in the works.
But Gibbons and Cheng have not shifted their focus completely away from Spabbit — they are working towards enhancing it.
“We’ve thought of adding in a tournament-league system where you could take a group of friends and challenge another group of friends, it’s something that people have been asking for,” Gibbons said.