Bounce: for greener tennis - Companies

Bounce: for greener tennis – Companies

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The start-up Bounce aims to make the tennis world more sustainable. A first step is the marketing of a pressurized bullet tube, already announced two years ago. A second involves the recycling of used balls.

This is called taking the ball on the leap. Three Belgians passionate about tennis and padel, a racket sport derived from tennis, intend to make the world of tennis more sustainable. “Maxime Sohet, Gregory Merguerian and I, three longtime friends, have been playing tennis and padel for more than 20 years,” says Antoine Wouters, one of the three founders, who is also a sales engineer. “We found that the balls we were playing with wore out quite quickly, hence the idea of ​​working on a solution to extend the life of the balls.”

This is called taking the ball on the leap. Three Belgians passionate about tennis and padel, a racket sport derived from tennis, intend to make the world of tennis more sustainable. “Maxime Sohet, Gregory Merguerian and I, three longtime friends, have been playing tennis and padel for more than 20 years,” says Antoine Wouters, one of the three founders, who is also a sales engineer. “We found that the balls we were playing with wore out quite quickly, hence the idea of ​​working on a solution to extend the life of the balls.” This solution is called Bounce and was developed in particular thanks to the Decathlon start-up incubator. Concretely, it is a pressurized tube intended to contain three to four balls. At the end of the game, the players insert their balls into the tube and use the integrated pump to put the balls under pressure and thus optimize the quality for a next game. “The use of this pressurized tube makes it possible to extend the life of a bullet, on the order of three to five times”, recalls Antoine Wouters. “Around 500 million bullets are used worldwide each year, which means we could consume three to five times fewer bullets using this tube.” Two years ago, we already presented the three companions project to you. Today, it’s done: thanks to their experiences as athletes and engineers, they have in their hands a tested, approved and marketable prototype. For research and development, at the end of 2021 they completed a first round of financing of 250,000 euros thanks to private investors and a loan from Sowalfin (Walloon Region). To start the marketing, the three founders initiated a crowdfunding via Kickstarter on June 2, which showed more than 70,000 euros at mid-term. It must be said that the start-up is not completely launching into a vacuum, in the sense that pressurized ball tubes are already marketed by other tennis players. Bounce’s idea is to differentiate itself by offering “the best product”. “As part of our research and development, we tested competing solutions and managed to improve certain points which, in our opinion, were lacking in terms of design, ease of use or security”, says Antoine Wouters . Large-scale production should begin around September or October, with first deliveries scheduled for December. “We plan to sell 10,000 tubes by the end of 2022. We have not yet canvassed for a distribution network, but this is the next step.” It is therefore impossible to say whether tennis fans will adopt the Bounce solution, especially since the price of a Bounce tube is set at 80 euros. Be that as it may, the three founders already have ideas to follow, in particular by giving a second life to used balls. “We are in contact with the AFT (Association francophone de tennis) with the idea of ​​being able to recover used balls in order to recreate new balls. At present, only 1% of the balls marketed are recycled.”

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