Interview with Samrat Darda | Founder at PlayOffside

Samrat Darda

At BrilliantRead Media, our aim is to bring to our community some of the finest stories from the leadership world. As part of this endeavour, we invited a passionate entrepreneur – Samrat Darda for an exclusive interview with us. He is a Leader, Entrepreneur, Consultant, and Mentor. Samrat is the Founder of PlayOffside. It is a promising startup dedicated to making sports more social and enjoyable for a diverse range of users. Playoffside strives to bring people and sports closer together by organizing fair and exciting sports contests. Let’s learn more about Samrat’s exciting journey, his background and his advice for our growing community:

Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Samrat:

Talk us through your background and your journey as an entrepreneur, please;

I come from a Jain background, so running your own business is a prerequisite to becoming somebody. My father asked me to help him in sales and accounts as early as age 14 and as a result, I started understanding trading and selling very clearly in those days.

Brought up in such an environment, I always felt the urge to excel in things of my own and not follow in somebody’s footsteps.”

As a student, I wasn’t really ever passionate about attending lectures or going through practicals. Taking initiatives in cultural as well as academic competitions came out of the fact that I was always scared of these things. To go out in a group of people and interact was a fear that I overcame in my college days.

After my post-graduation in MBA- Marketing, I joined my father’s business and gradually understood the math of it. Somewhere between all this, I drifted far from the game I always loved – CRICKET.

They say, not everyone can do what they love and I loved two things, solving problems and cricket. That’s when I found a huge gap in the current local cricket setup and decided to do something about it.”

With a little research, I realized there’s a big market scope in India for local sporting events where regular people with sporting hobbies can come and play. With the ultimate aim of providing equal and fair opportunities to play and building local communities, I landed upon the Idea of PlayOffside, where a player or not, everyone gets to play.

The journey started from Designing the Mobile application and the website, to find different people to work with for these events. With so many different moving parts in this, I’ve tried my best to cope with marketing, operations and the development of the app!

With the success of these events and the popularity of the Application locally which PlayOffside has earned in its first 45 days is really inspiring to take on further strides.

What attracts you towards entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career?

I chose entrepreneurship because I’ve always seen a surrounding with self-employed individuals and successful people. I have always been intrigued by entrepreneurship and started listening and reading to Steve jobs in my teenage. You see – It’s fascinating how you build something from scratch, the process in itself is very satisfying, to conceptualize and build something which people around you cannot compensate for in their imagination.

To build an empire around it and not everyone can do it. It takes a lot of courage, perseverance, smart work and making a lot of mistakes to only have learnt from, combined with good strategy & execution skills.

During college, I chose Computer science intentionally because I was very passionate about the coming AI age and wanted to pursue it. I always wanted to make such a product which is user friendly, problem-solving and could be helpful in the field of software.”

Hence came out with the concept of Play Offside, a platform for everyone to get out of their phones and gadgets to actually go and spend some relaxing and entertaining time on the field.

Samrat Darda

‘PlayOffside’ is such a unique name; talk us through more about it, please. Our audience would also love to know what kind of problem you are solving?

Play Offside came out of a well-thought intention to make the brand generic to all sports and not anyone in particular. There are very few terminologies commonly used among different sports – Offside is one such. But Offside on its own wasn’t really pointing out what the company does, so that’s when I decided to name it Play Offside.

The problem I’m trying to solve here is:

Opportunity – The opportunity to play the game you love is a big gap in the current ecosystem because there are two kinds of sports enthusiasts, 1, who make it their profession or take the game very seriously and make it a constant activity in their life. Now for such people, opportunity comes easy as they are a part of existing gaming societies.

The other type of enthusiasts probably love the game equally but due to their career choices end up being secluded from the game and no longer can continue enjoying the sport due to a lack of networking or opportunities to play.”

My professional aim is to make sure everyone in this country can open a Play Offside application to book a tournament ticket for their weekend and happily go out on the field to enjoy the game.

We provide all kinds of entry options. A person who doesn’t know any team can come in alone or with a couple of his friends or an entire team, we make sure the solo entries get a team and vice versa.

Bringing sports and people closer – In our country, 60.27 per cent of people come into the 15-59 age group with 800 mil smartphone users.

We are increasingly heading towards lifestyles surrounded with smart gadgets and more often than not have come to realize that our average time using these devices has kept on increasing, with Play Offside tournaments and exciting games, our users can keep their phones aside and experience the competitive fun games we have.

Networking – On this Platform, you can interact with local players of similar interests and start to connect with other players and play together.

During this COVID-19 crisis, what are the measures you have undertaken to continue your business without disruption?

As the business is born during COVID, each measure is taken to ensure that the model aligns with the challenges of the pandemic.

~ Our business model consists of a lean team which is not at all resource-heavy and has minimal overheads.

~ The freelancer model ensures each and every work can be handled remotely, where we don’t need to do physical meetings

~ Every aspect of the business is online and tech-enabled to ensure automation as much as possible.

~The events have only started as of march realizing the ease of covid restrictions

How do you manage to keep going despite the challenges? What drives you?

I believe the biggest driver for me is challenging, I can run my best lap knowing it’s impossible to win.

There are lows and highs but I don’t live the lows expecting the highs nor do I get too excited when the good days arrive. I’m an objective oriented being and my objectives keep me afloat.”

Who do you believe has been the biggest source of motivation in your daily life?

My everyday life is shaped by my father, a person for whom I have the most regards for. He has helped me become the skilled person I am today and he will continue to do so. Watching his work inspires me to take on my work with a charm.

What are some of the strategies that you believe have helped you grow as a person?

There are a few:

(1) Having a constant plan of action keeps me focused

(2) Being kind towards mistakes and taking responsibility for my own.

(3) Ability to solve problems with an unorthodox approach

What are the three most important lessons you have learned while building your startup?

A lot of people have a lot many opinions and they might seem like they can help you win your race. They can not.

You have to make your own calls and trust your very own instincts to win your very own race.

Find the right people to work with and all these things take time and effort, make sure you have both apart from some money!

Samrat Darda

In your opinion, what are the keys to success?

I will say it straight that there are many factors but if you really have to have the key elements then to me these are the ones:

> Being a critic of my own work.

> Not settling for average work.

> Having the right people to work with

> Resourcefulness

> Curiosity

> Positive Attitude

> Taking massive action (execution) with consistency and belief

What advice would you give students and young professionals who want to have a successful career?

Dare to act instead of asking 10 questions before starting something. The experience is going to be all worth it.  And never say it’s too late cause it’s not. The fear which stops you from making the right decisions is not real.


Follow Samrat At: 
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Please don’t forget to read – Interview With Aswini Sahoo | Social Entrepreneur | CEO At World Blind Cricket Ltd

BrilliantRead is committed to bringing stories from the startup ecosystem, stories that reshape our perspective, add value to our community and be a constant source of motivation not just for our community but also for the whole ecosystem of entrepreneurs and aspiring individuals.
Note: If you have a similar story to share with our audience and would like to be featured on our online magazine, then please write to us at [email protected], we will review your story and extend an invitation to feature if it is worth publishing.
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