Aston Business School graduate helping people in India get into sport
Neeraj Aggarwala graduated from Aston Business School in 2008, leaving with a masters degree in Strategic Marketing Management.
Neeraj Aggarwala is the Co-Founder of two companies: Easypolicy, which launched in 2011, and is one of the leading online insurance aggregators in India with around 450 members of staff, and Sportivo, which launched in 2018.
Sportido is an app that helps people find and book places to play sports. The initial idea for Sportido started at Aston University.
‘’I used to play a lot of cricket here, back in India, before I moved to the UK. I couldn’t find people to play with at Aston University. I felt that it was a problem that could be solved.’’
According to Neeraj’s research, similar to his own experience, 82% of the population want to play sports, however most of them cannot find people or places to play.
The app initially began as a social network to connect users and enable them to form sports teams. Then, the app launched a booking engine so that people could book sports facilities.
The number of users has exploded since its launch, with estimates of around 150,000 people using the Sportido app. Neeraj is extremely proud of how the app has impacted its users.
‘’We’ve been able to impact their lives by introducing sport. That’s our mission; we want to inspire healthier and happier communities by helping them rediscover the joy of sport’’.
The Coronavirus pandemic did reduce bookings initially, but once restrictions were lifted, the bookings started coming in.
‘’We saw a silver lining. Those people used to go to gyms, but for a while gyms weren’t considered safe. But sports are played over a larger area. There aren’t too many people in the same space together’’.
‘’Plus, users who previously went to the gym for their fitness, have now resorted to playing sports”
Why Aston Business School?
Neeraj studied an MSc Marketing Management degree between 2007 and 2008.
Before studying at Aston Business School, he had studied English. Neeraj felt that it was important to have some formal training in business and marketing before entering the business world. He had also never studied in the UK before.
Neeraj chose Aston University because he felt that studying abroad would be a brilliant opportunity, especially as business is often international. ‘’Whatever business you build, or whatever sort of environment that you are in, it’s increasingly more and more international.’’
After deciding to study abroad, Neeraj researched where to get the best business and marketing degree in the UK. ‘’When I was doing my research on where it is that you can get the best marketing degree, Aston University's name was just coming up everywhere.’’
Neeraj also liked the appeal of Aston University’s very central location. ‘’It was right in the middle of Birmingham’’ ‘’That was great, being in the middle of the city was fantastic. The student life was absolutely phenomenal. You had everything at a stone’s throw.’’
He was also impressed by the ‘’phenomenal teaching talent’’ at Aston Business School. Reflecting on his degree, Neeraj felt that studying at Aston Business School gave him the knowledge and the confidence to start his own business.
‘’In terms of my background, before Aston University, I had an English major from my graduation. So that didn’t build too much confidence.’’ ‘’My degree at Aston certainly helped me put things into perspective. There were certain frameworks that I could use when I was starting both my start-ups.’’
For Neeraj, one of the best things about Aston University was making friends for life.
‘’What was really interesting about Aston, was the kind of friends that I made. Those friends are with you for a long time, pretty much for life.’’
‘’There were people from different parts of the world, but interestingly, with similar backgrounds. That was great.’’
‘’I could not even imagine having an experience like that back home.’