Interview with Francisco Baptista – Building a business as a Black founder

Tell us about your business?

TeamSportz was born out of my own necessity and frustrations with the lack of solutions to analyse my own basketball practices and matches. Like most, I wanted to solve that problem. 

At TeamSportz, we actually started by creating a sports-wearable at first. It was a successful Proof Of Concept and we learned a lot building it, however it failed to meet our vision: we created TeamSportz for everyone, anywhere which meant we could only invest in technology that was easily available and accessible. This meant that it had also to work for any community that can benefit from physical activity. For example, people exercising in wheelchairs or children exercising

What inspired you to create TeamSportz?

I want to live in a world that is more equal and has more opportunities. We all want that I suppose. That was what inspired me. From that point I just had to figure out the ‘how’. Since I’ve been a basketball player since a young age and I am a software engineer by trade, it is natural to bring two of my passions together and create a solution that can impact many people by enabling them to be more active, practise sports and use cutting edge technology affordably.

TeamSportz has seen amazing growth since being part of the Sports Tech Hub accelerator programme. What has been your proudest moment to date as a founder?     

I think the proudest moment was certainly being accepted to join the accelerator. Being accepted so early in our journey provided me and the team with the validation needed to continue solving this problem. When I pitched at the accelerator it was my 1st time speaking about TeamSportz to a large crowd.

“You will be surprised that once your vision is crystal clear in your brain, all the challenges become just small bumps in the road.”

Francisco Baptista, TeamSportz CEO and Founder.

What do you think the sports and tech sector can do to help founders from diverse backgrounds more?

It is very hard to pinpoint only one aspect, but I would say having the opportunity to dream about creating an innovative business that uses AI in sports that is for everyone is an ambitious vision.

Also, having the accelerator (such as Sport Tech Hub) embrace us and our vision, without reservations, and provide us with the confidence and the network to bring others into that same vision. For example, two of my first investors were introductions from Sport Tech Hub. This introduction led to further introductions that helped us to raise funding from the US, from investors such as Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz and Rob Wailing, CEO of TinySeed. 

What advice do you have for other underrepresented founders for overcoming challenges they may face in their entrepreneurial journey? 

I would say, come and work for TeamSportz. We have an amazing team and a great set of investors that love our vision and we truly love that we are diverse. 🙂

On a more serious note, I grew up in Angola during the civil war until I was 17 years old. I am no stranger to struggle. While creating TeamSportz I received many (hard to swallow) no’s and on occasion I was reminded that people with my background don’t build AI businesses (Ouch). 

You will be surprised that once your vision is crystal clear in your brain, all the challenges become just small bumps in the road. My advice to you is to stay on course, because you are running a marathon. Build a team that shares your passion, because together all of the challenges suddenly lose their surface area and you will have the head space to “stay hungry”.

If you would like to find out more about Francisco or TeamSportz, or enquire about partnership opportunities, get in touch here.

Aimee Palmer

Community Officer
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