As is often the case with entrepreneurial ideas, the Game Set Match (GSM) app was born from the irritation of a persistent problem. “My partner, Chief Technologist, and avid tennis player, C.J. Bordeleau, struggled to find similarly skilled playing partners to himself as he traveled the country on business” says Marsh Sutherland, CEO of GSM. Additionally, the US Tennis Association’s (USTA) National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) for individual players proved inconsistent across geographic regions.

The problem demanded a solution – and that solution became Game Set Match.

Game Set Match is one part community forum for the tennis world and one part player improvement tracker. Currently boasting more than 300 users, most in Spokane but with pockets in Boston and New York City as well, the app allows players to find and communicate with each other to set up matches. A recent adopter and promoter of the app is Jeff Urie, Director of Tennis at the Spokane Club. “This app is a great way for members and other players to play more challenging matches, making them more prepared when USTA leagues and tournaments roll around” says Jeff. Marsh and C.J. are working to increase usage of the app and take advantage of the more than 13,000 private tennis courts in the US, all of which are listed in GSM.

Unique to this app is its utilization of the Elo Rating System which, originally used to rank chess players, is being introduced to the tennis world for the first time through GSM. The basis of this system, which takes into account the skill level of an opponent when ranking a player based on wins and losses, overcomes the geographic inconsistencies plaguing the NTRP system. “Players risk ranking points every time they play a GSM match, which gives them some ‘skin in the game'” Jeff at the Spokane Club says. As players improve their game and win more matches, the app allows them to seek out and schedule matches with higher-skilled opponents.

Click here to sign up and challenge a friend to a match! Marsh and C.J. are also looking for advisors who can offer domain knowledge in either tennis or people matching applications. You can reach them through their Facebook page here.

When asked to share his best piece of advice for startups, Marsh, a self-described serial entrepreneur, emphasizes the importance of traction. “Launched apps are nice, but if they don’t get usage then it’s just a fun hobby. A startup needs traction to know it’s viable and will grow before ever seeking any investment money” Marsh offers. “A good traction benchmark is to show 5% week-over-week growth in the one metric that matters for 10 weeks. Then seek investment if you truly need it to grow.”