India is known for its diverse cluster of cultures, the rich brainpower of doctors, engineers worldwide and its ever-growing population and their love of cricket. And why not, after all even the God of the sport hails from our nation! In a country where every child has once dreamt to be a cricketer, only few people know how intensified the problem of lack of proper amenities in the field has led to loss of more youth interest than in other fields. In such a plight, what would be more prudent than to have a startup that looks after all the hassles to keep your mind in the game?

What exactly is Freebowler?

Freebowler specializes in developing one of its kind “on-the-go personalized” (non-electric and portable) cricket bowling machine which solves the limitations with the existing bowling machine regarding usability, size, power requirements, use of machine balls, and expense.

The cricket bowling machine solution is simplistic in design; its 40 inches in overall length and just about the size of a cricket kit. It folds up like any home-gym equipment; it’s got wheels making it mobile and fits effortlessly into the back of your car. With its ability to throw any and all types of cricket balls with all the variations available with the existing bowling machines in terms of speed, line, length and swing all without the use of electricity, is what makes it different from others. In terms of a price point perspective, this Freebowler’s bowling machine is available at 1/4th the price of all the existing machines in the market.

How did the inception of Freebowler take place?

Meet the Founder of Freebowler: Pratheek Palanethra
Founder of Freebowler: Pratheek Palanethra

Like every other successful startup, there’s always an even more interesting story under the covers. So it is for Pratheek Palanethra – the founder of Freebowler, who was always passionate about cricket. Having played with cricketers like Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, KL Rahul and many more from the state of Karnataka, he came across a different approach in having practise sessions for cricket when he was in USA for pursuing higher education.

In a conversation with TSJ, he says, “I was amazed to find out nobody had tried to solve this problem in 150 years of cricket or however long the game has existed. I also found out unfortunately more than 80% of the world’s total cricket population have never used a bowling machine in their life time. Because the existing bowling machines have only been accessible and affordable for professional teams, but not to an everyday cricketer who just wants to play cricket. That’s why I started ‘freebowler’ with an aim to serve the cricketing community. I have suffered enough and I don’t want others to undergo the same cycle of struggles I underwent growing up.”

Justin Jacobs, the co-founder of Freebowler and is the engineering lead of the team. He has industrial experience in manufacturing, production, and design.

Co-Founders of Freebowler: Justin Jacobs
Co-Founders of Freebowler: Justin Jacobs

Freebowler initially came live on 26th October 2016 in the US and later in India in 2017, since then have grown to have six team members and has an extensive clientele with several clubs teams, academies, camps, Schools, Colleges, and Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities. Freebowler is also looking to find its place in several malls, resorts, local parks and residential buildings in the upcoming days. The end users of the product are coaches, managers, and players and reside in the age group of 15-45 years.

The Revenue Model and Future Goals:

Freebowler’s three primary forms of direct revenue are unit-based sales of the bowling machine with a price point of ~Rs.25,000, accessory products like replaceable components, assistive add-ons for Rs.2,000-3,000 and membership/rental based options for Rs.2,500-5,000. Freebowler is also planning to monetize freebowler’s creative content through social media marketing. Freebowler is also open for commercializing the technology to bigger players in the cricket industry on a ‘revenue sharing’ model or royalty fees in the future.

Having garnered positive feedback on the product so far from all of its beta-testers – players, coaches, managers, parents,  (including some of the Indian National Players – Rahul Dravid & KL Rahul), this Bootstrapped startup has also closed the deals with few well-established brands like CricClubs in the USA, and looking to build Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Technology strategic partnerships with brands like Decathlon (India) and others who have shown interest to work when the time is right. According to the reports, Freebowler is closer to around 100 pre-orders, with a Net Promoter Score of 70 so far. And by the looks of the popularity of the sport, there are many promising prospects in store for Freebowler.

Have the freebowler experience here:

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