We recently spoke to Lukas Girzadas who is a founder of Sportas, a new business that lets you play sports without the commitment of joining a team. He tells us all about what it’s like to launch a business working with your brother and best friend.
What did you study at York and when did you graduate?
I studied BSc Economics and graduated in 2017.
Tell us about your time at York.
I had a brilliant time at York where I was involved in a number of societies. I was the President of the Halifax Football Team, the Vice President of the Economics Society and 1st team player of the University of York Football team.
What were you doing before founding Sportas?
Straight out of University I joined PwC’s graduate scheme and qualified as a chartered accountant. I then joined the Corporate finance team at Grant Thronton for a year before taking Sportas Full Time!
Tell us a little about Sportas. How did the idea come about?
Sportas is a social platform that makes it easy to play sports with others. After university, it was hard to keep playing sports regularly and trying new ones without joining a team. We wanted to create a solution to solve this problem and Sportas was born!
What’s it like working with your brother and friend on a business venture?
We actually also live together which is crazy, it certainly comes with its challenges but I wouldn’t want to be building Sportas with anyone else.
What do you love about your current role?
The ability to really help people play the sports they love or just get into sports in the first place. I have always been a big advocate of staying healthy and fit, encouraging all my friends over the years to take part in physical exercise. To see people come week in and week out, improving at the sport they play with every session is super satisfying.
How hard was it to launch a start-up?
I believe anyone can launch a startup it is just how much you believe in the problem you are trying to solve. If you have the passion, the drive and the right team behind the idea, I would strongly encourage you to pursue it.
What have you learnt from the process?
I have learned that there is so much that I don’t know. There are things you are going to get wrong and it’s about how you move forward and what you learn. An interesting question I get asked frequently is how I know how to do certain things, and in all honestly most things, I had no idea how to do. During my time in sixth form, I heard an interesting phrase which was ‘to know what to do when you don’t know what to do’. I learn every day by reading into things and speaking to people in my network, there is always something that will guide you one step closer to what it is you are trying to achieve.
What moment are you most proud of?
To be able to say we have helped over 2000+ individuals keep playing sports is a massive achievement itself. There are so many moments where people tell us how much it has helped them with their mental health and general stress relief. Every time I hear those things, it pushes me to work even harder.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to launch a new business?
Just got for it, you always see people and founders who seem to know it all, but believe me, everyone is constantly figuring things out. Start with small experiments and make sure to have some proof that the problem you are trying to solve is actually a problem that is faced. You don’t have to go all in straight away, in your spare time, you can explore the idea, do your research into the market and slowly start building the venture!
Did COVID-19 impact the business?
The business launched in summer 2021 when things were more settled, but in the run-up to December, the scare of the Omnicron virus meant that the attendance rates at our games were lower than usual.
What’s next for you and Sportas?
We are looking to continue growing with the momentum we have gained. Come and join one of our games with a special York Alumni discount of 50% off your first game! Simply use the code YORK on checkout.
You can find out more about Sportas below:
Instagram – @sportas.uk
Twitter – @sportasuk
Wesbite – www.sportas.co.uk