AccelGolf: Crowdsourcing an Upscale Demographic

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AccelGolf (www.accelgolf.com) offers a mobile device application and platform for golfers that acts as a handheld scorecard, golf course database, and back-end data collection and intelligence engine. Customers use the application to track all the minutiae of their games, including types of shots, performance on particular holes, and club usage. The application offers data on thousands of golf courses, and AccelGolf’s customers fanatically update and extend the data about the courses using their GPS technology as they golf. On the back end, AccelGolf collects all the data their customers input, creating a massive resource that tracks information on players, equipment, and courses over time.

Perhaps the most innovative part of the AccelGolf offering is the crowdsourcing capability: how customers use the AccelGolf platform to both create and curate the data that AccelGolf manages on behalf of all customers. The more customers contribute, the more valuable the tool is for the customers, and the higher the barrier to entry becomes for any competitor. Furthermore, these data create the possibility of alternate revenue streams, for example, by enabling club manufacturers and course managers to advertise on the platform.

The ZapThink Take

From a business perspective, the golfing demographic is a double win for AccelGolf: not only does it skew upscale, increasing the valuation potential of the company, but the audience is also fanatical about their own game data. Because the value of the information depends upon its quality, if the audience were likely to be less than honest about the data they enter, then the entire AccelGolf value proposition would be weakened. But with the golfing demographic, players are unlikely to exaggerate individual scores (although deleting an occasional poor game would be “par for the course,” as it were, and AccelGolf will have to adjust for that).

Among the lessons other companies may learn from AccelGolf is their novel use of GPS technology. Now that a critical mass of mobile devices have this technology, putting it to good use is a significant innovation driver. The misconception that the GPS function in mobile handsets is only for streaming local ads to consumers is now passe, but the market is still deficient on innovative uses of this technology. AccelGolf has combined GPS with other capabilities in a novel way that can foster similar innovation in different business contexts.

AccelGolf: Startup Potential (1 – 5 light bulbs)
Game-Changing Potential takebulbtakebulbtakebulb
Once AccelGolf proves its model with the golfing app, there is good potential to expand to other sports and beyond.
Partner & Exit Potential takebulbtakebulbtakebulbtakebulbtakebulb
The golfing demographic is so lucrative that acquirers will likely fight over AccelGolf, leading to a bidding war and an unusally rapid exit.
Innovation Leadership takebulbtakebulbtakebulbtakebulb
Combining GPS capabilities, crowdsourcing, and massive data collection is a combination applicable in many arenas.
Reality Check takebulbtakebulbtakebulbtakebulb
Fanatic customers, upscale demographic, innovative, cool product: what’s not to love? Now it’s all about execution.