Hoop Maps is the second app appearing in Shark Tank episode 914. It's designed to let users find a local pick-up basketball game in their community. Say you and some friends want to find a game, simply check the app and find one. Sign in and say you'll be there and go – it's that easy. The flip side of that is you can also create a game and put it on the app so others can find you. It's basically a micro social network for pick up hoops games.
The app is the brainchild of Donte and Dominic Morris, twin brothers who like their basketball. One day, they were cruising around Sacramento, looking for a game. They searched online to see if they could find something. When they couldn't, they decided to make an app.
So far, they're confined to the Sacramento area, but their hoop dreams are bigger. The app has users all over the world, but it's still a relatively small number. The brothers are involved in the local tech scene and are working on a podcast that highlights up and coming companies. They want to be one of those companies and they want a Shark to help them.
My Take on Hoop Maps
I never was much of a basketball guy. In my day, I went looking for pick up hockey games on local ponds or baseball games in the warmer weather. That said, finding a game on my phone would've been cool. Too bad it was science fiction still back then!
I think what Hoop Maps offers is useful and the app looks functional and easy to use. I also think it's an extremely niche product that will have difficulty finding traction unless a Shark gets involved. It certainly isn't something I'd ever use (but if they could come up with a fishing app – I'm in).
Will Sharks go to the Net and Invest?
Donte and Dominic are smart young guys who are passionate about what they're doing. That might not be enough for the Sharks. Even though the app is well designed and slick, there are some problems. First and foremost, this is an extremely niche product – how many people crave finding a pick-up basketball game? My guess is not that many in the grand scheme of things.
Another problem is how do you monetize the app? How many people out of the aforementioned small sample of users will pony up money to use this? Again, probably not many. The Sharks are going to ask these questions and the answers aren't going to make them part with their cash.
The only hope these guys have is if Mark Cuban bids and pairs it up with some sort of licensing deal with the NBA. If you had Seth Curry and others touting Hoop Maps, it could gain some traction. That's a long shot though. My guess is Hoop Maps will not be on the Shark Tank map.