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Former Springbok rugby captain Jean de Villiers and former Lions rugby player Dylan des Fountain have teamed up and are looking to capitalise on the current World Cup Rugby mania, with a new startup — MyFanPark.
The startup’s platform, which went live in May, allows fans to receive video messages from local sports stars and celebrities (such as comedians and musicians, among others) via messaging platform Whatsapp.
For example, fathers can use the service to send a video clip of their son’s favourite sports star before their son is about to play a big match.
Presently 100 celebrities have registered active profiles with an almost equal amount of registered celebs whose profiles aren’t active as of yet, Des Fountain (pictured above, far right with fellow founders) told Ventureburn earlier this month.
MyFanPark is former Springbok rugby captain Jean de Villiers’ latest business, at least one previous endeavour didn’t go so well
The platform takes 25% of any fees paid to sports stars and celebrities when they record messages for fans at usually about R300
De Villiers (pictured above, left) and Des Fountain founded the startup, with entrepreneur Wouter Lombard and Dylan’s wife Joy Des Fountain.
Joy and Dylan are also founders of Slipztream, which in June launched it’s an app and desktop platform that allows users to easily snap, upload and submit expense claims instantly for approval (see this story). De Villiers is also a partner in that business.
De Villier’s hard knocks from business
In an emailed response from Japan, where he is for the Rugby World Cup, De Villiers said he and Des Fountain have known each other since school and previously played professional rugby together.
“He actually told me about another business called Slipztream which I became a partner in. Through that process MyFanPark also came to life and together with Dylan, Joy and Wouter, we have brought it to where it is now. We are extremely excited about MyFanPark and the interest that we’ve received is also very encouraging,” he said.
De Villiers said he’s been involved in several businesses before. At least one of them didn’t go so well.
“I was still playing (when) I got involved in a business, but I learnt some very valuable lessons through that process. A forced exit if you can call it that and a fair chunk of money lost.
“Then already I realised that the people you go into business with is probably one of the most (important) decisions you’ll make and if you get it wrong from the start then the chances of it getting better is extremely slim.
De Villiers is currently also involved in another startup called Faces on Numbers, together with his brother Andre-Louis. The logo is being carried on the Springbok jerseys at the World Cup.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup match between the Springboks and Namibia, De Villiers says he’s expecting “big things” from the Springboks for the World Cup.
“The first game (in which the Springboks lost against New Zealand 13-23 on 21 September — Ed) was disappointing but the expectations are still there that this team can go all the way.
“It’s the most open World Cup ever and there are probably about five teams that can win it and no doubt there will still be a few upsets,” he said.
Lombard got idea from Portugal trip
Des Fountain credits Lombard with coming up with the idea of the startup. “He actually came up with the idea when he was travelling to Portugal and shared it with Joy and myself, which lead to us ideating MyFanPark and formally starting it as a business together,” he added.
He says when he shared the idea for MyFanPark with De Villiers he said it was immediately that he should team up with him.
“He simply loved the idea, he has a good lens on being a ‘celebrity’ and engaging with fans which has been incredibly beneficial to our business,” said Des Fountain.
He said the startup’s sports category is growing “extremely” fast, with a lot of interest from rugby, soccer and cricket players.
“We anticipate this to be our leading category in the next few months, given the enormous interest from the get go. We are really excited about signing a number of netball and hockey players as well,” he added.
Which rugby players are on MyFanPark?
So which rugby players are live on the platform ready to take requests to send a personal video to fans?
Des Fountain lists these as:
Cecil Afrika (Springbok Sevens)
Chris van Zyl
Dewald Human (Springbok Sevens)
Eben Etzebeth (current World Cup Springbok)
Faf de Klerk (current World Cup Springbok)
Franco Mostert (current World Cup Springbok)
Jean de Villiers
Jesse Kriel (current World Cup Springbok)
Lukhanyo Am (current World Cup Springbok)
Peter de Villiers
Trevor Nyakane (current World Cup Springbok)
Featured image: MyFanPark founders former Springbok rugby captain Jean de Villiers, Wouter Lombard, Joy Des Fountain and former Lions rugby player Dylan des Fountain (Supplied)