Centrale du Sport is determined to win with Grinta
If Saint-Etienne produced a portrait of this young Saint-Etienne company in October 2020. It offers amateur sports clubs a “marketplace” as well as access to sponsorship from large companies. La Centrale du Sport is now focusing its development around its new solution: Grinta. Launched 10 months ago, it provides clubs with an e-commerce service for their own products intended for their licensees and fans and has just raised € 2 million.
They are more than one to believe it. And not the least. La Centrale du Sport has just announced that it has obtained € 2 million as part of a fundraising fund to “boost” “Grinta”, its new e-commerce solution intended for amateur clubs. In the adventure? Région Sud Investissement, Inspiring Sport Capital, and several renowned business angels including Daniel Beutler, former chairman of Trainline Intl. or Guillaume de Monplanet, former CEO of Adidas France and vice-president “direct-to-consumer” Adidas Europe, who thus joins Grinta’s advisory committee.
“This round of funding, completed in less than a year, is also completed by Provence Angels and several entrepreneurs and experienced managers from the sports industry. « This is the case of Philippe Massonnat, former general manager of Central Eastern Europe Nike Football, Olivier Letang, president of LOSC, Yannick Nyanga, sports director of Racing 92 and former player of the French rugby team. And finally Christophe Chenut, former CEO of Lacoste and The team.
A marketplace for sports clubs unique in France, even in Europe
Founded in 2016, located rue Georges-Dupré, in downtown Saint-Étienne, the Centrale du Sport had already raised funds of 500,000 euros in 2017. Enough to afford to hire. Today, in addition to its four partners who retain majority control of their company, it has around ten employees. The start-up was founded in Vienna in 2015 by Kevin Fournier and Adrien Gontero, joined in 2016 by Mickaël Bardes as partner and, more recently, by Stéphanois Medhi Lahmam.
It then launched a marketplace unique in France, even in Europe, intended for amateur sports clubs. From the jersey to the ball, including luggage and accessories, this web platform compares the price of the equipment it also allows to order on a national scale. It simplifies and optimizes, including financially, club orders.
About fifteen people recruited to develop Grinta
Having grown from € 300,000 in turnover in 2018 to € 1.2 million in 2020, the company invested in another area in 2019. With its technical solutions and its knowledge of clubs and their equipment needs, it offers them negotiated access to sponsorship from large companies in order to supplement their local resources. These activities are now grouped under the Act For Sport banner. Finally, the Centrale du sport has been established a year ago in Marseille, where six of its 15 employees now work.
They could be around thirty by December 2022, shared between Saint-Etienne and the Bouches-du-Rhône, almost at their convenience, as the company is used to operating in a decentralized manner. Because the start of the 2021 sporting season must mark a decisive turning point for the Centrale du Sport. “Our Grinta solution should enter a decisive development phase. The € 2 million raised will be used primarily to recruit the fifteen people who will be assigned to it ”, explains to If Saint-Etienne Mickaël Bardes, CEO of Grinta.
Huge potential for Grinta in European sport
Grinta offers a new social and community distribution channel for major brands. The solution provides amateur sports clubs with an e-commerce service intended for its licensees and fans which allows them to collect remuneration (5 to 10% commission) and also to obtain exclusive offers for their members. La Centrale du Sport thus replaces the players in mass distribution as an intermediary. Nearly a thousand clubs already use it in France as well as around thirty in Belgium.
But the company speaks of colossal potential, made up of« A million sports entities in Europe creating a practice for 250 million members ». Even if « We will first concentrate our development in France and in the French-speaking border areas before considering abroad, specifies Mickaël Bardes. There is no equivalent solution except in the United States. We can quickly become essential with brands ”. His company is targeting 2.4 M € in turnover over 2021. Then its doubling in 2022. In 2023, Grinta should therefore account for more than 50% of the turnover of the Centrale du Sport.