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Interview with the founders of the "321 Transfer" Platform - Bartosz Slusarski and Damian Szurgot.

Roger Hampel

321 Transfer is a transfer platform designed specifically for football clubs. The platform carries out a thorough verification process for every club that registers, ensuring that only decision-makers are allowed to participate. The platform enables football clubs to buy and sell players without any additional commissions, providing complete transparency about the players available and their prices. The environment of the platform is intuitive and easy to use, making it simple for football clubs to navigate. The platform was founded by Bartosz Ślusarski, a former professional footballer and Polish international, who experienced firsthand the problems that football clubs encounter on the transfer market, and Damian Szurgot, an entrepreneur and football enthusiast, is also a co-founder of the platform. The 321 Transfer team guarantees complete transparency in communication and provides a practical tool for football clubs to conduct their business on fair terms.

Roger Hampel: To start with, how can you describe the 321 transfer project?

Damian Szurgot: The 321transfer project is our vision of a transfer market that is both fair and unlimited. It's all about giving clubs complete control over information through direct contact with one another. We've actually brought this vision to life through the development of a platform that clubs are currently using.

Roger Hampel: Can you explain the process that clubs go through when buying players on your platform?

Bartosz Slusarski: Absolutely. The base of our platform is crucial to the process. Our focus is on expanding the platform and encouraging more clubs to join us. Once a club is registered on the platform, they can create an online transfer list. The President, Sports Director or Chief Scout can then log in to the platform and view a list of all their players. To indicate that a player is available for transfer or loan, they simply change the player's status, which instantly becomes visible to other clubs on the platform. Other clubs can express their interest with a single click, and then initiate negotiations with the selling club.

The 321 Transfer Platform

Roger Hampel: How does the data collection process for your player base look like? Do you collaborate with other sources such as Transfermarkt, or do players self-report, or are they reported by their clubs?

Damian Szurgot: We don't have a close partnership with any specific data provider. Our aim is to streamline the process for clubs, so they don't have to spend time adding players and creating profiles. When a club registers on our platform, they can immediately see their current squad, enabling them to use the platform's full range of features and carry out transfers. We're continually introducing new features, and full database automation is just one of them.

Roger Hampel: What was the inspiration behind creating the 321 transfer platform? Did you notice a particular issue in the transfer market that you wanted to address?

Bartosz Slusarski: When I was playing, there were no tools or platforms like ours available. Players had to rely on two things: their performance on the field and having a good agent. Clubs, on the other hand, faced difficulties during the search and scouting process, often struggling with a lack of information. Nowadays, there's an abundance of information available, but managers face challenges with verifying its accuracy, which we aim to address. I consider myself fortunate to have played in the "old" times and retired only recently. I believe that such platforms will provide clubs with more opportunities for transfers, which will contribute to the economic success of clubs and the athletes themselves.

Bartosz Slusarski in the Polish national team, Poland - Mexico, 2005.

Source of the picture:

Roger Hampel: Bartosz, I've noticed that many retired footballers tend to pursue careers in coaching, becoming an agent, or working as commentators or TV experts. What made you choose a different business path after your football career?

Bartosz Slusarski: Well, while many footballers do choose those paths, it's not entirely accurate to say that they're the most common. There are plenty of players who pursue entirely different careers. In my case, I wanted to combine my passion for football with my newfound interest in technology. What we're doing is quite groundbreaking, not so much in terms of the technology itself but more so in the industry we're operating in. It's an industry that tends to resist change and moves slowly when it comes to introducing new things. However, my experience in football has taught me the value of patience. I know that if we stay the course and have enough of it, we can disrupt this market in a big way.

Roger Hampel: Can you outline any specific success metrics or targets that 321transfer has established? If there are, would you mind sharing them with us?

Damian Szurgot: While it may be customary to set goals based on the number of clubs, we believe that such an approach is flawed as the appetite for success only grows with each milestone achieved. Instead, our focus is on transforming the operations of clubs in the transfer market and empowering them in this domain. This is an ambitious goal, but we are confident that we can achieve it. Our objective is to ensure that clubs are no longer undervalued and relegated to the bottom of the pyramid of needs, but rather return to the top, where they can play a key role in the transfer market, without being overshadowed by players or agents.

Roger Hampel: How do you currently generate revenue from your project, or how do you plan to do so in the future? Do you utilize a subscription model, or commission-based transfers?

Bartosz Slusarski: Our revenue structure heavily relies on a subscription model. We do not want to rely solely on commission-based transfers, as it can lead to a focus on player movement at the expense of the player's or the club's best interests. Moreover, we also don't want to interfere with the correspondence between the clubs on the platform, which would be inevitable if we were to rely on commission. Instead, the subscription fee enables us to create the best possible environment for clubs through the platform and provide them with tangible benefits. As we introduce more features, we plan to offer different subscription packages and options.

Roger Hampel: What markets are you currently focusing on, and do you plan to expand beyond Europe?

Damian Szurgot: From the very beginning of our project, we have aimed to create a product with a global reach, and all of our actions have been taken with this in mind. Naturally, due to our location and contacts, it was easiest for us to acquire clubs from Central and Eastern Europe, but we are not limiting ourselves to this region. We already have clubs from 17 different countries in our database, and by building local markets, we can create a single global market with significant transfer potential, accessible and easy to use at various levels of competition. A given club may have a network of contacts in their country or even on their continent, but outside of that, they may have limited connections, and this is where 321Transfer comes in. You mentioned expanding outside of Europe, and that's what's happening. Our team is growing successively and recently a person responsible exclusively for the American market has joined us. A person recognizable in the environment and able to help us connect the markets we are talking about.

Roger Hampel: Can you tell me about your main competition? I'm guessing that your main competition may be, for example, TransferRoom. So what sets you apart from other similar platforms?

Bartosz Slusarski: Well, we do consider TransferRoom as an inspiration for our platform, but we don't necessarily see them as a direct competitor. Unlike other platforms, we are solely focused on helping clubs, and you'll only find verified clubs on our platform. This means there's no room for unwanted messages or communication noise. The current market is heavily based on agents, which you'll find on other platforms, but we want to offer clubs an alternative. That's why 321 Transfer is all about club-to-club relationships, and our motto is CLUBS FOR CLUBS. We have additional functions in the works, which will cater to more entities, but everything we do will always prioritize the value of clubs.

Roger Hampel: What are the most famous clubs that use your platform so far?

Damian Szurgot: We don't prioritize famous or wealthy clubs over others. Our focus is on creating a real change in the transfer market, which requires clubs from various league levels. While we may have a sentimental attachment to some clubs, every club is equally important to us. That being said, you'll find clubs on our platform that play in prestigious competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League, and UEFA Conference League.

Roger Hampel: Can you share the most notable transfer that has occurred through your platform?

Bartosz Slusarski: We believe that the most significant transfer is yet to come. We have information that these transfers are taking place and it's a great joy in itself. We are happy about the success of the clubs on our platform, but we do not reduce it to one transfer or a successful transfer window. We know the people who work there and we support them, regardless of the level at which the club plays. Each club is a different story for us, a different memory from the meeting with the director or head of scouts. This is our goal, to build a base based on relationship, support, and trust.

Roger Hampel: How do you handle your relationship with football agents? Some may see your platform as competition for agents, but ultimately you share the same goal of finding the right club for the player and vice versa.

Damian Szurgot: I'm glad you recognize that we're not in competition with agents, as we've been promoting this narrative since the beginning. In fact, we strongly believe that agents are necessary in the industry. However, it's important to acknowledge that not all agents are the same, and there are good and bad agents just as there are in any profession. From a club's perspective, it's unwise to resist the digitization and globalization that are rapidly transforming all aspects of our lives, including football.

Roger Hampel: Are you currently working with investors or partners to help fund and develop the platform? If so, could you please provide some details about these partnerships?

Bartosz Slusarski: Our focus is primarily on hard work, and although we are open to discussions and cooperation, we have been financing ourselves so far through bootstrapping. However, we have partnered with experts in sports law to improve our transfer services for clubs, and we have also collaborated with a prominent consulting company in Europe, which has given us valuable insights into the needs of sports organizations.

Damian Szurgot: I want to emphasize that while our platform has gained significant attention and the user base is constantly expanding, we believe this is just the beginning of our journey. We are continuing to work diligently, confident that the right opportunities will come our way in due time.


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