From quitting a career to becoming a young game-changer
Born with a natural inclination towards sports, Ishveen realized her true passion for sports while playing her favorite catch game with her father. This moment of self-realization was life-changing and propelled Ishveen into captaining the Keble College, Netball and Cricket teams at Oxford University. In the following years, when Ishveen was working as a sports agent with a sports management consultancy in London, there was a question that constantly occupied her mind- ‘Why wasn’t there an Airbnb for sports sponsorship?’ Determined to find not just an answer to the question but also the solution, Ishveen knew she had to take a leap of faith. Finally, she quit her successful career in a management firm and moved to New Delhi, India to become a sports agent. With a clear mission and a plan in the saddle, there was virtually nothing that could have deterred Ishveen from pursuing her goal. The journey begins and while on her pursuit to make sponsorship a regular, streamlined, and an impartial process, Ishveen noticed plenty of loopholes in the way the sports sponsorship industry operated. She observed that with its high barriers to entry, lack of tech, and transparency, most of the athletes were deprived of the opportunity and the fulfilling success they deserved. The gap was huge, but Ishveen was ready. So, did Ishveen make it?
Perseverance and progress
With a myriad of challenges thrown her way, quitting a successful career in retail management was the first major test Ishveen had to pass. Born and raised in Manchester England, it was not easy for Ishveen to travel to India and pursue her goal to be a sports agent. The huge difference in mindsets, beliefs, and systems was a major challenge Ishveen had to overcome. However, with the success blueprint, Ishveen pulled it off and went on to work with many eminent companies and cricket franchises. “I lead by example and believe in my clients, my team, and myself. There was no silver bullet or bulletin board material that changed my life, sometimes it’s a gut decision,” says Ishveen. Further, in 2011 to promote cross-border sponsorship, particularly between the UK and India, Ishveen started a firm named Auxus. However, following her marriage to an ace Fashion Designer Kirat Anand in the year 2012, she had to move back to New York and a new challenge sneaked into her life. Due to the geographical distance and different time zones, Ishveen started facing challenges managing Auxus. To overcome this, in August 2014, Ishveen launched OpenSponsorship. Within just 5 years of its launch, OpenSponsorship became the world’s greatest AI marketing platform which connects hundreds of brands to over 8,000 athletes, covering 160 sports, in 120 countries for digital, social, and traditional marketing campaigns. For her remarkable contribution, Ishveen was featured at the second position in the Forbes annual list of ‘Young game changers, movers and makers’ under the age of 30, known as the Forbes 30 under 30 Global Prodigies list. Still, in the early innings, OpenSponsorship has closed a whopping 6,000 deals ranging from $900,000 long term partnership agreements to product only one-off social media posts. Ishveen exclaims “We are building our data lakes and using analytical insights, AI-based matching and proprietary ROI information to help brands make better and quicker decisions while leveraging technology and our omnipresent marketplace to create meaningful partnerships for our athletes. A lot of hard work, great teammates, and, a solid commitment to constantly invent on behalf of our athletes and brands is what makes us successful.”