Connecting Calgary through sports

By Hafiz Mitha, CEO of PlayCity

Looking back on my childhood, some of the best times I had were spent outdoors. Playing street hockey, pick­up basketball, cycling through neighborhoods — even walking through parks to school with friends are all amazing memories for me.

It was so easy to be active as a kid. We were free of the responsibilities that come with being an adult: raising a family, working 40-­50 hour weeks, volunteering, making time for friends and family…. Finding time to be active and take care of ourselves has suddenly become harder to do.

Most people understand the concept of physical health being associated with mental health. I need to be active a few times a week to keep my sanity, just a fact. But what if you can’t find someone to be active with? Or if you do find someone, but your skill levels don’t align, so it’s not enjoyable for either of you?

This is precisely why we developed PlayCity. The app allows you to select the sports you want to play, along with your perceived skill level. Once you have selected your preferences, PlayCity matches you with people who are in your area and at the same skill level, and who are available to play now!

PlayCity offers a variety of activities for users to choose from. So far, sports like tennis, cycling and squash have been the most popular search terms on the app.

We recently partnered with City of Calgary Recreation to have access to their facility information. So now Calgarians can see where they can play when they have matched with a suitable partner.

Tips for creating an app

For anyone thinking about creating their own app, my advice would be to just get started. It doesn’t matter how, but just start taking things forward. Moments build momentum.

There are several tools that I used to help me take my idea from pen and paper to a working app:

  1. Moqups. This is­ a free tool that lets you wireframe your napkin drawings of a website or app onto actual screens.
  2. Slack.­ This communications tool gives you the ability to create specific channels to chat about specific areas. It has been critical to keeping our team organized.
  3. My network of friends and colleagues. ­An important step in building a business is to talk to as many people as you can — even speak in front of groups when you can (as scary as it can sound, it’s not so bad). The more feedback you can get while still in the early stages, the better.

PlayCity is available now in the iTunes store, and the Android version will be released early June.

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