A Kiwi web platform dedicated to all things cricket is set to launch next month aiming to tap in to the massive popularity of the game in India.
BehindTheSeams.tv, an online subscription service offering exclusive video interviews and other content, is aiming to crowdfund $450,000 next month in return for 30 per cent of the company, valuing it at $1.5 million.
Blackcaps and Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketer for the Mumbai Indians, Mitchell McClenaghan, is behind the venture along with founders commentator Scott Styris and former CricHQ executive chairman Mike Loftus.
"Scott and I came up with the idea when we were in India about 15 months ago," Loftus said.
On a visit to an Indian shopping mall Styris was "swamped by people wanting selfies, and it was an eye-opener as to how popular Scott is in India and his brand", Loftus said.
"We went to an IPL game later that evening and were chatting away and came up with the idea of basically putting together an interview site of cricketers."
India is the main target market, but it will be available for Kiwi subscribers and those in the US, England, Australia and Canada.
There are more than a billion cricket fans in India and half a billion of them are online, Loftus said.
The target was to get 100,000 subscribers within the first year, which would make the business profitable, he said.
After next month's capital raising Loftus and Styris will each have a 25 per cent share of the company, McClenaghan 5 per cent, with three other investors accounting for the remaining 15 per cent.
Styris conducted the initial interviews for the site, which is ready to launch on August 25, including with McClenaghan, who then got involved.
"It resonated with me straight away because I get to go around the world to play cricket in all these T20 leagues and meet amazing cricketers from all around the world and you never hear about it in mainstream interviews or see that on TV," McClenaghan said.
"I love the idea, it's so relaxed and the approach to what we're offering to cricket fans around the world is unique and very different."
"We've priced it so we can get out to the 120 million households in India who make an average of US$35,000 ($47,000) per year," he said.
"When you talk about having 2.5 billion cricket fans across the world, I think there's a lot of people to tap into and that's what we've built the company around."
The subscription service will cost $24 per year to access exclusive interviews with players such as Blackcaps Trent Boult and Tim Southey.
Most interviews are done at players' homes and are between 20-30 minutes long. As well as interviews, the service offers tips for up and coming players.
McClenaghan and Styris are the current interviewers and BehindTheSeams.tv has two employees based in Bangalore and two in Mumbai.
"I've always been an advocate of putting money where your mouth is, I'm backing this financially and I'm really driven to put my time and effort into making this a success," McClenaghan said.
"We'll be able to tell stories that generally as cricketers we would have discussions over a beer and tell these stories and experiences that you don't do with the media."
Other IPL cricket players such as Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Hardik Pandya have expressed an interest and are lined up for future interviews.
This is a really great way of supporting players and getting some revenue essentially for their time and effort and their profile.
Players and interviewees will be paid on a royalty basis, encouraging them to promote the content through their own social media accounts.
"As a way to engage the players and promoting the site to the fan bases. If you look at some of the Indian players for instance, their Facebook followings are anywhere from 10 million to 45 million, so the thought there was very much around how do we get those players to plug their videos to those followers and hopefully a per cent of those fans will follow us on our site," Loftus said.
"That model has been very well received by all the players we've interviewed and spoken to so far... This is a really great way of supporting players and getting some revenue essentially for their time and effort and their profile," he said.
"We are a New Zealand company, keen on keeping the production and management here, but want to tap into the audience in India."