Boredom to Business: How a Passion Gone Missing Became a Business
In mid-2020, as covid-19 lockdown restrictions went into place, Louis Cadier found himself cooped up in Barcelona, longing for a game of table tennis. While he quickly adapted to his new work routine, he found himself missing all the social interaction, the thrills, and excitement.
Looking for a Solution to Lockdown Boredom
In non-pandemic times, wherever Cadier was, he was playing the game he loves. As the world shut its doors and public matches were nowhere to be found, Cadier thought there had to be a way to rally the table tennis community. He looked for various ways to connect with other players to arrange meet-ups or participate in matches but found there was no formal structure for table tennis networking or ranking.
It occurred to him that there had to be a way to empower the grassroots collectives found at every public park, to unite all players in a single competition. So, Cadier teamed up with his partner Junwei Fang to get to work, and StreetTT was born. After ten months, the mobile app has grown to include thousands of players and hundreds of communities, while spanning several countries.
How Thunkable Turned a Hobby into a Mobile App
Cadier and Fang initially set out to give the local Barcelona table tennis community a way to arrange matches, run tournaments, and maintain leader boards. Since neither person had hands-on experience with mobile app development, they researched potential solutions to create their network. After extensive research, they settled on Thunkable as their no code native app builder and Backendless to maintain their player database. They rapidly crafted an app that made it possible to arrange matches between players, record the match outcomes by scanning an opponent’s QR code, and thereby maintain a local ranking of players by Elo rating, the same rating system used by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Photo Credit: La Vie de Kelsey
The Success of Thunkable-built App StreetTT
"The table tennis community is phenomenal. On any given day, there can be dozens of players hanging around public tables waiting for matches. But that was all brushed aside during the pandemic,”Cadier said. “While we missed playing, it allowed us to think about a better way of connecting players from all over the city.”
As StreetTT was introduced to Barcelona, it caught on like wildfire. “Promotion was simple; we got permission to put our QR code stickers on public tables, so any player could download the app and jump straight into the game. Right away, we saw hundreds of players sign up and start using the app to get back to playing table tennis.”
Their first tournament had more than 100 players and allowed competitors to play safely by spreading the attendance over multiple qualification days.
StreetTT Spreads to Other Countries
Cadier eventually left Barcelona to head back home to the United Kingdom, and he brought StreetTT with him. In Spain, StreetTT was quickly growing and had firmly established itself as the best way to arrange citywide tournaments with the greatest attendance. But in the UK, Cadier had to start over again building a community. He knew he had a popular app and a great outreach strategy to help make adoption go smoothly, but this time, Cadier reached out to Table Tennis England, the sport’s national governing association. In doing so, he found that StreetTT was of interest to their very own mass community organization, Ping!, and soon he was delivering a webinar to their national partners.
As it turns out, local government municipalities are looking for ways to improve the health, well-being and activity levels of their citizens. Cadier and Fang had created an online game that is played in real life, motivating, and addictive like a computer game, but generating verifiable activity and data. And the municipalities were in. Suddenly, StreetTT had an official launch date of the June 1, 2021, and municipalities nationwide were funding local activation.
From Hobby to Actual Business
At this point, Cadier knew that what had started as an idea, just turned into a business--and not just for StreetTT. The knowledge and experience of many app development cycles could be used to deliver rapid, stable, and well-designed mobile apps for others.
“Tech has always been about bumping into a problem, crafting a solution, and bringing it to life. I just didn’t realize that my interest would be shared by so many others and that it could benefit society, give social value, and bring people together," said Cadier. "It has been wonderful to see it take off!”
Only a short year ago, Cadier and Fang, were looking for a way to get out and play table tennis again. Through their thoughtful approach and passion for the game, they turned their idea into a growing enterprise. Both gentlemen still have many clients in other fields, but the thought of unifying the world of table tennis with their app is what gets them excited.
“Why should you need to raise capital to make your idea a reality? With Thunkable, we were able to build our idea, support the concept, and launch it," said Cadier. "Our experience as programmers did not include mobile app development, but the platform had everything we needed right there.”
The StreetTT userbase continues to expand, adding more communities, cities, and countries to the game. And Thunkable will be with them every step of the way.
If you are interested in joining or bringing StreetTT to your table tennis community, check out StreetTT on the app marketplaces or on the web. And, if you are interested in turning your own passion into a functional project, check out Thunkable, where we make it easy to turn your ideas into a reality with a simple drag and drop app builder, ideal for no code app creation.