Business Startup Spotlight: Pick Up & Play

Pick Up & Play

Pick Up & Play brings people together to play enjoyable pick-up games in the easiest way possible. We are streamlining the process of finding and organizing games. More importantly, we want to break down the barriers that keep people from connecting with others to play together.

Pack Up & Play

CEO, Arshene Baigvand

Name: Pick Up & Play

Location: Johnson City, Tennessee


Product / Service Offering: Mobile app that connects people to play recreational  sports based on location, sport, and when they want to play

Co-founder Interviewed: Arshene Baigvand

Other Key Management Team Members: Caleb Mitcler, Dakota Cowell

This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.

I am Arshene Baigvand, a senior studying finance at East Tennessee State University. As a college student, I have played a lot of pick-up games. As time went on, I realized that the incredible network I have developed as a student is largely connected to the people with which I played pick-up games. My motivation stems from my desire to meet more people to play games, regardless of where I am and who I know.

When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?

Pick Up & Play was established in April 2017. The idea originated nearly two years ago when I went to the soccer field to play a pick-up game. I was not able to play because there were not enough people. As I left the field, I saw another pick-up soccer game being played on a field nearby. I thought to myself how much time I had just spent trying to play when there was a game just down the road!

I took pen and paper to come up with solutions. There are many ways to play a game of pick-up, whether it’s just showing up at a field, looking on social media, or sending out texts to friends. All these different methods make finding or organizing a game confusing, tedious, and still does not guarantee you will find a game.

What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?

We want to streamline the process of finding and organizing a game. More importantly, we want to break down the barriers that keep people from connecting with others to play together.

Key to Startup Success: Customer Discovery

What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?

Pick Up & Play is not trying to keep statistics, to organize every social event, or to become another social media/messaging application. We are laser-focused on bringing people together to play enjoyable pick-up games in the easiest way possible.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?

Each day brings another challenge. The problem has not been the challenge itself, but rather the accumulation of priorities that all bring a new challenge. I have found that the best way to organize these priorities is to constantly measure the impact each challenge will have on achieving Pick Up & Play’s mission.

The Value of Vision & Mission, Or Lack Thereof

What resources have you utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?

As a student, I have been amazed with the amount of resources that exist on campus that go unnoticed. College students are not afraid to try new things. Professors want to see their students succeed. These two factors make for a great environment for people to come together and create something.

Learn more about the Tri-Cities’ Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?

So far, Pick Up & Play has not needed to secure funding. As we grow that is destined to change.

8 Options Entrepreneurs Utilize for Startup Concept Funding [Infographic]

What questions have you had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?

The biggest question is how to legally create a business, what type it should be, and what state to set up in.

Read an overview of Concept Stage Legal and Regulatory Requirements here.

What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?

Our current challenge is the time it takes to fix bugs/update the application. Everyone who is a part of Pick Up & Play is a full-time college student, and we all have to manage our time well.

What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?

When I am tired, I walk around looking for someone to talk to. For some reason, it gives me energy. Also, each conversation is an opportunity to get some insight on something you don’t know or even a chance to collaborate. So, strangely enough, exploring and talking can be a win-win.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?

The best way to find Pick Up & Play is to go to our website and click the link for iTunes or PlayStore.

Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!

Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.