The final day of EiG took place today at the Arena Berlin, always the quietest day but with an important focus on start-up companies within our industry.
The highlight of EiG’s day three was certainly the Start-up LaunchPad, now in its 9th year at the event. A great deal of work goes into preparation for the LaunchPad, the “selection committee” (comprised of Melissa Blau of iGaming Capital, Ewa Bakun of Clarion Events and Chris North of GamCrowd) carefully determine five start-up finalists to pitch their products to a panel of judges in a “lion’s den” style.
This year the judges included Evan Hoff, Partner at Velo Partners, Carla Maree Vella, CEO of Optimizer Invest and Will Mace, Head of Innovation for Unibet.
The one and a half hour session was moderated by Blau, during which each start-up was granted eight minutes to present their innovation followed by a Q&A with the judges. Blau said the audience would be invited to vote on what start-up they would invest €500,000 in at the conclusion of the presentations.
Blau said the start-up finalists and winners usually reflect the latest trends in the industry, for example, the winner of EiG’s 2015 LaunchPad was a virtual reality company. She also pointed out the value of participating in the LaunchPad regardless of who is crowned the winner, for example, last year’s runner-up received funding from two of the judges.
Blau also pointed out this year’s Launch Pad included two eSports focused contestants, something that shouldn’t surprise the crowd as eSports proved to be a huge topic of discussion throughout EiG 2016.
The five 2016 start-ups this year were as follows:
1SpinMillionaire, presented by Co-founder & CEO Martin Cagalinec
Cagalinec said 1SpinMillinoaire will bring life changing experiences to online gaming by combining the concepts of lottery and jackpots to allow gamblers to win huge amounts without additional stake. He said adding this product to a portfolio will “multiply an operator’s volume” and will “jackpotify” their business.
Black Cow Technology, presented by Commercial Director Tony Plascow
Black Cow Technology is a software business allowing customer to build bespoke games to their own format. “The core software remains with us, but everything you can build around that remains yours”, Plascow said. He said Black Cow Technology is trying to edge the industry towards “open-source style” so we can “collaborate and grow”. “It’s a method of doing something far more efficiently”, he said.
GamingBattleGround, presented by CEO Luka Ciganek
Ciganek explained GamingBattleGround as a plug-in service allowing gamers to play against each other or play in big eSports tournaments, helping to fulfill the fantasy of playing in a huge eSports tourney as many players dream of.
Glück Games, presented by Co-Founder & CEO Robert Lenzhofer
Lenzhofer opened by saying, “we believe that everyone deserves a little bit of glück”. He explained Glück is a b2b real money gaming company with 30 games in their portfolio and many more coming. He described the games as “casual real money games” (CRMG’s), at the intersection of lottery & casino.
Lenzhofer revealed several “EiG exclusive” announcements during the presentation including Glück’s recent deal with Sideplay Entertainment & Lotto Interactive and their upcoming launch of “the biggest scratch card in town” in partnership with Lottoland.
PVP.ME, presented by Co-Founder & CEO Yury Kolesnik
Kolesik explained PVP.ME as a betting exchange offering in-play betting for video games. He said there has been a “collision of eSports & wagering” and “eSports finally emerged from under the radar”. He emphasized how well suited eSports is very live betting as there is so much hype throughout every single match.
At the conclusion of the presentations the judges were shy to reveal their individual picks, but all three praised the quality of the five start-up companies. Mace said if the concept is easily copied or repeatable he would identify those start-ups as less strong, Vella complimented the strength of the speakers, saying each one is obviously passionate about their product which important and according to Hoff, “The more gambling focused you are, the more difficult it is to raise money” and “The first chick is not what counts, its the second chick”.
Hoff also said Glück would be his pick, the only judge to reveal his thoughts without consulting with the others first.
In the end, after the audience voted, 1SpinMillionaire was officially crowed the winner and the grand prize came in the form of a free booth at EiG 2017.
After looking back on the three days of EiG 2016, its obvious the event was a success and Clarion is clearly making steps to build EiG back up to the powerhouse it once was years ago.
CalvinAyre.com caught up with Clarion’s Commercial Director Rory Credland to get his thoughts on the event and he was absolutely delighted with this year’s turnout and said, “The unofficial numbers for EiG 2016 are over 1600, to be verified in the coming days”. He also confirmed numbers were up from last year, exhibitors were pleased with the foot traffic across all three days and there were certainly quite a few hangovers due to the official Playtech party the evening before.