As the Co-Founder & CEO of FanSaves, Shannon Ferguson is a passionate and experienced entrepreneur. Shannon launched FanSaves to encourage fans to connect with their sponsors with ease. FanSaves is now working with nearly 70 teams across North America, four being major league teams, indicating that paper coupons in the game day program or for in-game activations are a thing of the past.
FanSaves is a digital couponing SaaS platform helping sports teams and organizations increase fan engagement, activations, and sponsorship revenue while tracking important customer demographics for both their team and their partners all in one place. The FanSaves website and the mobile app offer fans free access to discounts, deals, and in-game activations from sponsors so they can better engage with and support local and national team partners.
Shannon began this journey as a non-technical co-founder following her eighteen years of marketing experience. Now, as CEO, Shannon is overseeing project development, an evolving digital platform, and inspiring other women entrepreneurs as a mentor and public speaker. Shannon accredits her determination and entrepreneurial drive to her mother. She likes to think she was “bred to be an entrepreneur,” having grown up in her mother’s business. From a young age, Shannon filed documents, coded Rolodexs, and absorbed her mother’s professional drive. As she grew older, she grasped a better understanding of how much hard work and effort coincide with owning your own business. Unfortunately, after her mother’s death in 2015, Shannon was grief-stricken and in a dark lull about what she wanted to do with her life. Throughout the year that followed, Shannon was grief-stricken and in a dark place, not sure about what she wanted to do with her life when she decided to follow in her Mother’s footsteps and start her first business, a Marketing & Events company. It was through this business that a minor professional hockey team became one of her clients, leading her to meet her now business and life partner, Kris McCarthy. Together they found a gap in the sponsorship market, co-founding FanSaves together in 2017. Shannon recognizes Kris as her “anchor and the reason FanSaves ahasbeen able to grow so big.”
Together, they created FanSaves and ran into many trials and tribulations. In 2018, when they created the first version of their app (now platform), they hired a developer that created an essential and realistically unsellable version of what they had envisioned. Although the product wasn’t sellable, they decided to enter pitch competitions as a way of networking and getting their product in front of a variety of people. By doing so, they received validation and “some of the best branding and marketing [we] could at the time,” says Shannon. Although they were making a name for themselves, they were simultaneously going through four different developers and being set back a year’s time before they solidified their current back team.
Teamwork and resilience are common trends in Shannon’s life. Growing up a competitive hockey player, Shannon is no stranger to being knocked down a time or two. However, she encourages others to “always get back up … you’re going to be knocked around, you’re going to fall, but the key is to always get back up.” This philosophy carried over into her professionalism, as she compares sports with the obstacles and constant improvement needed when creating a start-up. Shannon claims that entrepreneurship is “the longest (and most rewarding) sporting event [I’ve] ever played.” Shannon’s current team helped skyrocket FanSaves into the ever-evolving platform it is today and showed her the intricacies of building a complex digital forum.
When asked what advice she would give to people interested in entering the field of entrepreneurship, she answered, “just start … if you think about it too much, you’ll psych yourself out and never make it happen … Your dream cannot become a reality unless you take action and believe in yourself. Begin. Stop planning and do.” Shannon accredits her creative inspiration to manifestation. Claiming, “it is the one place in the world where you can see something that does not yet exist and make it come into existence … I’m constantly using my mind to create scenarios which then become my new inspiration.” This led to the company’s recent success in connecting with four major league teams, as Shannon had manifested from the start.
As for the future, Shannon plans to continue making moves in the startup industry and helping others fall in love with entrepreneurship as she has. She hopes to make a difference in the world by using her success to inspire others and spread kindness to those along the way. Claiming the one change she would like to see in the world is people being kinder to each other and offering encouragement even amongst the competition.