We meet the CEO of One Hundred Sports Group…

João, as the CEO and founder of One Hundred Sports Group, could you tell us more about your business venture?

One Hundred Sports Group is at the forefront of a revolution in endurance trail running and virtual running, driven by advanced sports technology and AI innovation. Our mission is to redefine the global landscape of trail and virtual running by seamlessly blending the physical challenges of endurance sports with the immersive experiences of advanced technological solutions. Central to our vision is the Endurance Trail World Championship, a marquee event that exemplifies our commitment to setting new standards in competitive running. Through this event and our technological initiatives, we aim to transform the endurance sports experience, captivating a global audience and fostering a new era in athletic achievement.

When did you realise the opportunity in this new market sector?

While training to qualify for Badwater 135, recognised as the world’s toughest footrace, I participated in races worldwide and noticed the vast community size, the absence of a world championship, and races being organised by small local associations for thousands of people. This observation prompted me to research and identify this golden opportunity.

What were the main challenges you faced when starting your business?

We were hit by COVID restrictions just as we were about to launch the World Championship. We used the subsequent two-year period to test our technology and conduct brand activations.

How did you approach the investment requirements for the business?

We left no stone unturned, exploring various funding sources, including angel investors, private equity, Crowdcube fundraises, Dragon’s Den, and building a strong board-level team that could facilitate introductions and locate suitable brokers.

What are some of the main steps businesses should take when raising equity finance?

It’s essential to have a solid corporate structure, keep all documentation up-to-date (including financial plans and cash flow forecasts), assemble a competent team with a dedicated finance person, demonstrate signs of traction, ensure information is well verified, and rehearse the pitch extensively.

How did your previous experiences help you in that all-important pitch?

My extensive experience in raising capital through various channels, building a biotech company from scratch to an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, and fundraising from angel investors, VCs, PEs, Crowdcube, IPOs, and institutional investors has had a compound effect on my pitching skills.

Your background is as an ultramarathon runner; what are your transferable skills as an entrepreneur?

My ultramarathon experience has endowed me with resilience, a never-quit attitude, adeptness at managing problems, and preparedness for the unexpected.

How influential would you say your sporting experiences were when first starting up?

Very influential, as there are numerous parallels between the resilience required in endurance sports and entrepreneurship.

What advice can you give our readers on establishing a work-life balance?

Rest is just as important as work. If you are capable of working hard and long, you must also be strong enough to stop and recharge. Disconnect from work, spend quality time with loved ones, and ensure personal interests are maintained to achieve a balanced life.

What does a typical day for you look like?

My day starts at 6:30 AM with a strong black coffee and breakfast, followed by an hour of prioritising emails and contacts. I then run for 1-2 hours and complete a 30- to 45-minute gym session. Afternoons are reserved for documentation, some dog walking, and business calls. Evenings are my personal time with family, and if needed, I return to work, fit in another running training session, or go to my jiu-jitsu classes.

How do you see the business growing over the next five years?

I envision One Hundred Sports Group becoming the leading trail running and virtual running company globally, providing transformative experiences through the cultural and joyful aspects of the sport.

With world and national affairs in such turmoil, what role does sport play in keeping people positive about the future?

Sports instill balance and resilience, reminding us to be prepared for the unexpected and maintain a healthy mindset, focusing on what we can control daily despite external chaos.

If you weren’t running One Hundred Sports Group, what business would you be involved in or what career would you have chosen?

I would likely be helping other entrepreneurs build their businesses with a focus on internationalisation and value creation.

What five tips would you offer to our readers starting their business?

Join a professional network like TAB, which is dedicated to supporting business owners through their various stages of growth and development. 

Persist and adapt despite challenges. Identify thriving regions for starting the company, fundraising, and driving expansion.

Surround yourself with positive and trustworthy individuals; get very far away from people who always play devil’s advocate and are unstoppable sceptics, never being able to truly see the vision.

Lastly, maintain relentless forward motion and trust your instincts.

Lastly, what inspirational quote, as a former athlete, can you offer our readers for motivation?

“Find the largest burden you can carry and carry it with a smile.”