Innovation in iGaming start-ups was a big theme in 2015 especially towards the second half of the year with the debut of CalvinAyre.com’s Ventures Project and the launch of iGaming Entrepreneur Conference. A goal of both the ventures project and entrepreneur conference was to play match-maker between iGaming start-ups and investors (a mission CalvinAyre.com is still happy to embark on, so keep on submitting) .
2016 has potential to be another innovation-rich year with an enormous emphasis already being placed on raising the profile of disruptive start-ups and technology via conferences, accelerator programs, industry awards and other events.
Kicking off the year for innovation inspiration we have GamCrowd’s Pitch ICE competition and the inaugural “GamCrowd Studio”, a day of sessions dedicated to start-ups and investors, both taking place during ICE Totally Gaming.
“GamCrowd’s Pitch ICE is a great way to start the process of getting your idea noticed in our industry. The free event we produce in partnership with Clarion events gives start-ups the platform to market their businesses to the industry before, during and after the show. This could lead to all sorts of opportunities from distribution deals, investment to finding people within the industry with the skills, expertise and contacts that you may not have”, GamCrowd’s Chris North explained.
The quality of start-ups signing up to events such as Pitch ICE are getting better and better each year, an indication the industry is maturing and better tools and opportunities are now in place for start-ups.
“The barrier to entry to build on an idea has come down considerably with the online support platforms available now that weren’t there a couple of years ago”, said North.
An example of a new opportunity available to start-ups is the upcoming GamCrowd Studio at ICE on Thursday, February 4th.
“The reason for doing this is that I have looked at over 200 business plans in the past 18 months and the main thing that stood out for me was a lack of basic knowledge of our industry’s main pinch points like legal, licencing, financial modelling and payments. What the GamCrowd studio will do is fill that gap in that knowledge by breaking the industry into its component parts and cover these with advice from experts and from GamCrowd”, North shared.
The day of sessions is free to attend for ICE delegates and according to North, highlights include the team from Joelson Wilson covering legal issues, Gamevy, last year’s Pitch ICE winner, sharing what they have been up to this last year and a session with Jon Bradford, Ex CEO of Tech Stars, London.
Just after ICE, the iGB Affiliate Awards include a “Best Innovation” category for any product or solution created since October 1, 2014. Two of the seven shortlisted companies include Videoslots’ “Battle of Slots” and RankingHero’s “HeroScore”, both delighted to have the exposure and recognize the opportunity it provides in connecting them with potential investors.
“We are both happy and excited to be nominated for best innovation now at the IGB awards and this is a proof for us that we are doing something right and that we want to show everyone that a casino can be much more than what a normal casino is today”, said Daniel Hansen, Head of Games at Videoslots.
Hansen added, “We think that the social aspect will be important in the future, players are getting used to be social in various ways on internet and if you can see if you walk in to a land based casino today that people that are playing slots are very social people. It will be more and more important that the players can in an easy way share the experience they have at a casino like they can do when the play at Battle of Slots”.
Nicolas Levi, Founder of RankingHero, is delighted to have an iGB Awards nomination for HeroScore and will be participating in Pitch ICE to get the word out on his latest venture.
“We’re pivoting, launching a B2B brand, Trixir, a gamified community platform for all brands that look for user generated content as a way to drive organic growth, engagement and loyalty”, shared Levi.
When asked how else he plans to get the word out within the iGaming industry and to potential investors, Levi has several approaches.
“We have 10 years of experience in iGaming and Web marketing, so the early opportunities come from our existing network of partners & investors, who have been watching us closely the last 3 years. We’re also building a content marketing strategy, with research papers available and gamification blogs in two languages about to be launched”.
He added, “The gamification industry is growing 50% year on year with no sign of slowing down. iGaming as always been an agent of change. Our knowledge in gamers motivation and focus on performance marketing makes us uniquely position to disrupt this market with a unique and proven technology”.