CORNWALL, Ontario – Shannon Ferguson and Kris McCarthy, the co-founders of FanSaves were awarded $100,000 after winning the RC100 Startup competition held by the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC).
FanSaves is a mobile app that allows sports fans to support their favourite sports teams or other organizations while also getting great deals from local businesses.
“The mobile app gives fans discounts and deals from sponsors of their favourite teams and organizations,” FanSaves states in a press release. “Each redemption is tracked in a dashboard, unique to their team or business, giving them customer analytics and a way to track return on investment.”
Ferguson said that FanSaves already planned on how to use this investment to grow their business.
“One of the first things we are doing is to launch the FanSaves Innovation Project in Renfrew,” she said.
The innovation project will be starting this fall and participants will be invited to listen to guest speakers about the challenges a rural start-up like FanSaves faced while launching and to take part in hackathons to solve those challenges.
Ferguson said that some of the participants will be hired on by FanSaves to start a satellite office in Renfrew.
Part of the funding will also go towards increased marketing for FanSaves, which is launching a new version of their app on Sept. 1.
Ferguson said she was grateful for the support she received from the Renfrew CFDC and hopes that the success of FanSaves will change the perspectives she feels some have on rural tech start-ups.
“We know what it is like being a start-up in a rural community and it isn’t always easy,” she said. “We want to bring FanSaves to as many rural communities as possible.”
“In rural communities, we have to work hard to attract young talent,” Ferguson explained. “Bigger cities attract younger talent just by being a bigger city.”
Ferguson also highlighted some of the advantages of being in a rural community.
“We love being in a rural community,” she said. “In Cornwall, we are in a prime location with a low cost of living.”
In October, FanSaves will be heading to Memphis, TN, to participate in the Top 100 Startup of the Year competition, in which they have places as a semi-finalist.