Digital advertising company Fresh 8 was crowned the winner of the EiG 2014 Start-Up LaunchPad at Arena Berlin today (Thursday) after what the judges called the “strongest set of presentations” in the history of the competition.
Fresh 8 secured 36% of the audience vote, followed by Discount IF (28%), Lucky VR (18%), Asylum Labs (10%) and Betify (8%).
DLA Piper partner Hilary Stewart-Jones, one of the panel of judges who fired questions at the finalists following each of the eight-minute pitches, said: “They were all incredibly slick presentations, but Fresh 8 got my vote.”
The other judges were Burlywood Capital partner Mark Blandford, Velo Partners partner Evan Hoff, GamCrowd chairman Ian Hogg and Anthony McAuslan, director of gaming at RoyalWins.
“We are a digital advertising company that specialises in advertising technology and sports betting,” said Andrew Sharland, the managing director and co-founder of Fresh 8.
“We are an ad serving platform that connects content, CRM and live bet data to create personalised displays. We are moving from an affiliate licence fee model to an ad tech model, and we operate in football in horseracing.
“We work out what the reader is reading and are able to break down the data and add structure. This helps to retain existing customers and attract new ones, and is scalable.”
Asylum Labs chief executive Jason Kaehler kicked off the competition with what the judges called a “very strong product”.
“Most social games are just not that social,” he said. There aren’t rich interactions between people, but with Asylum Labs, we feel that we’ve got a big idea. We are a mobile social casino game developer, based in California, and we have just launched our first game – ‘Wild Party Bingo’.What we’ve done is very unique. The player can form teams with friends and help or hinder their opponents.”
Betify founder and CEO Samuel Huber was the next to pitch his company’s challenge-based platform.
“We are different in that we try to solve an engagement problem,” Huber said.
Before the start of the competition, Element Wave chief executive Dorothy Creaven offered insight into the impact of winning the 2013 Start-Up LaunchPad.
“Since EiG last year we have had such a warm welcome to the iGaming industry as a specialist in mobile technology and mobile software,” she said.
“The industry is a really good match for us and we’ve had a number of qualified leads – not just from last year but also from this year’s conference. They are interested in how we can make a difference for our customers and improve monetisation.
“We have increased our revenue by 500% since last year and we are on track for international growth. Over the next 12 months we will be scaling the team and the company.
“We’ve expanded our team from two to seven and now we are not just focused on technology, but also mobile marketing. We now have a global reach and we’re working with some of the industry leaders.”
Creaven also spoke about the four different kinds of pitches a start-up must always have prepared, including the 10-minute Launchpad pitch, the four-minute funding pitch, the 30-second elevator pitch and the five-second ‘Hail Mary’ pitch that you might need at a busy conference.
“As a start-up, you really need to know how to pitch,” she added. “You never know who you might be standing next to.”
“We use the game environment to increase engagement and take gamification to the next level so that the core game is created and built from the ground up.
“We think there is a big cross-over with the gambling industry. In the next couple of months we plan to convert more leads and activate growth partnerships with social media houses before taking it to the worldwide market in May or June 2015.”
Discount IF chief executive Lewis Holland then told the audience about how his company plans to rival Amazon by bringing together the worlds of gaming and retail.
“This is a new product vertical for the gaming industry, and we’re thinking big,” he said.
“There is not a lot of innovation in the online retail industry. We feel that there’s a lack of engagement.
“But we want to bring gambling mechanics into the retail industry and offer potential cashback on products bought if there is a certain outcome.
We launched a couple of months ago in beta and have got very good engagement so far.”
The final presentation was by Lucky VR founder Jeffrey Lande, who spoke with enthusiasm about the opportunities presented by his company’s virtual reality product.
“We are virtual reality software developers and we specialise in gaming,” he said. “We can recreate any casino in the world and make the player feel like they are there.
“Virtual reality is making an amazing comeback. Virtual reality may seem like a gimmick, but it’s going to have a massive impact. VR is finally here.
“We are looking for partners in real-money gaming, and we plan to offer social and real-money experiences.”
Content provided by EIG Totally Gaming