KnockOn.ie, an online community for club rugby community and a Ballinrobe man’s brainchild, has been shortlisted in the Irish Times Digital Challenge. The challenge aims to help The Irish Times Group build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with emerging digital businesses.
Rob Murphy, a regular contributor to The Mayo News sports section, entered his website along with 80 other digital start-ups in early June.
The website is a hyper-local news source for grass-roots rugby enthusiasts, which focuses on building an online community of rugby supporters and players, where every ruck and maul of the game is covered in detail.
Murphy identified a niche, noticing that while club and home town teams usually matter more to rugby enthusiasts, the disconnected nature of the market meant that coverage was limited, even in local media. The main point of the site to provide in-depth coverage of club rugby and to give young budding journalists the opportunity to write.
Over the next eight weeks, KnockOn.ie and the other finalists will work with The Irish Times to refine their products for market, reach customers and scale its businesses. The finalists are also competing for a €50,000 prize.
Other finalists include, MyFli, builders of instant mobile web pages for advertising and StoryFlow, a data-mining solution that puts articles in a broader context by showing other relevant stories.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Murphy acknowledged that it would be ‘a huge honour’ to win the competition. On learning about the KnockOn.ie’s humble beginnings in 2007, the Ballinrobe man’s enterprising nature becomes obvious.
“It was initially just a blog, providing more analysis on club games than most newspapers. When we realised what kind of attraction the site was getting we thought. ‘let’s do something with this’, and now the site is getting 9,000 visitors a month for the Connacht club coverage alone.”
Currently in Dublin for the eight-week incubation process, Murphy is confident in the website’s chances of scooping the €50,000 convertible loan note from DFJ Esprit.
“We are getting great access to marketing, advertising and online start-up professionals, which is a plus in itself, but it would be great to win.”
MORE See www.irishtimes.com/digitalchallenge.