By: Ali Lord, Community Manager
Member Spotlight is a blog series where we will be telling the stories of our member companies and entrepreneurs — how they got started, what motivates them, and advice they’d like to share.
Today I sat down with one of our newest members, Giovanni Marcantoni, founder and CEO of Social Leagues. Here is what he shared with me:
Q: Describe what Social Leagues does in a single sentence?
We organize your social life. Motto: Get Fit Get Social
Q: Where did the idea come from? How did you get started?
After college, I moved to DC for a job in investment banking. I didn’t know very many people there and a friend of mine encouraged me to join his kickball league that played in the National Mall. Through the league, I made a ton of friends and thought “How can I do this somewhere else?”
I started small, by creating Baltimore Bocce League that played in Federal Hill Park. We gave out fun t-shirts and organized a sponsor bar for everyone to go to afterward. Everyone in the league goes back to that one place, further enhancing the social aspect of the league. I’ve found that people like having a set day of the week when they can plan on seeing their friends — without having to organize and plan the event themselves.
I eventually expanded the League to include other sports, like kickball and skeeball. The original goal was to start with “no barrier sports” — sports that catered to everyone. Anyone could play.
Q: When did it come to be your full time job?
After we saw success in Baltimore, we expanded the bocce and skeeball leagues into different markets. When we started skeeball in New York City, I knew I had to quit my job. Traveling became a burden and I knew I had to take the leap.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Growing the right way. Getting the right partners and hiring the right people is extremely important. We have a million things going on at once and we need employees who have the energy to do it. This is a 24/7 job and every small detail is important. As we grow, I want to be sure that we stay as focused on the small details as the big ones. We always pay attention to the little stuff and that is what sets us apart.
Aside from focusing on the small details, what sets Social Leagues apart from the competition?
Competition is out there, but I think what really makes us stand out is the atmosphere while you’re playing and the social component afterwards. We really focus on making this a social event people want to attend again and again.
Another piece that makes us stand out is the way we get the community involved. We work with a lot of schools and try to give back where we can. We fundraise for schools in exchange for letting us use their gyms and even try to get the teachers involved!
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to future entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, even if no one else does. When times get tough, that is sometimes all you have.
If you’re interested in learning more about Social Leagues Inc, check out their Baltimore website. They have some really awesome Baltimore leagues that are now open for Spring registration, including sailboat racing, dodgeball, kickball and volleyball.