Jovan Radnic is the Head of Marketing at Yamzu Esports. Yamzu, a platform which allows for esports contests for players and businesses, is one of four esports companies that made it into the shortlist for this year’s GamCrowd Pitch ICE competition for start-ups.
Ahead of the event at ICE Totally Gaming (London, February 7-9) we caught up with Jovan for a chat in the first of our four Pitch ICE Perfect mini series.
Esports Insider: What made you decide to enter into the Pitch ICE GamCrowd start-up competition?
Jovan: After BDL Accelerate and smaller conferences that gathered startups from every industry we finally came across one that was targeting ours specifically. Knowing that we would potentially get to pitch to experts that have a deep understanding of how the industry works meant we could get our message across loud and clear to everyone in the audience without leaving them puzzled afterwards.
“ICE Totally Gaming is the conference (in betting) to attend which made it a no-brainer for us”
Most importantly, this is the biggest gaming and igaming conference in the world. If a startup from these industries wants to get some exposure and make valuable contacts ICE Totally Gaming is the conference to attend which made it a no-brainer for us.
Esports Insider: What do you make of the competition? Four esports companies made the shortlist…
Jovan: It’s interesting to see esports from two different points of views- two platforms predominantly lean toward gaming and two are gambling based.
“Gamers are honest, they tell it like it is and that kind of feedback often made us come up with technical improvements that left everyone satisfied”
The fact that four out of eleven companies pitching are coming from the esports world definitely shows that the industry is yet to reach its peak with new ideas and talented people aplenty. I would also point out that more companies are beginning to pay attention to improving the esports experience for gamers sitting at home, playing on their PC or console. We’re all excited about esports and that is part of what makes the industry grow. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone after all!
Esports Insider: How was 2016 for Yamzu?
Jovan: This was the year of our launch and we tested the waters with the integration of League of Legends.
We didn’t know what to expect but the reactions were incredibly positive. We had gamers writing us emails, suggesting tweaks and which titles to integrate next, giving us feedback and spreading the word. I remember telling our CEO that ‘the gaming industry is truly like no other’.
Gamers are honest, they tell it like it is and that kind of feedback often made us come up with technical improvements that left everyone satisfied. In short the previous year was wonderful but we only tapped into the market, the best is yet to come this year and that is something we’re working on each and every day.
Esports Insider: Thoughts on crowdfunding for start-ups in the space?
Jovan: Since esports is an emerging market it makes sense to see more crowdfunding activities. For instance Riot Games recently addressed crowdfunding as well. There are crowdfunding platforms such as Stakrn designed for esports specifically. A lot of teams and organisations are using them to raise funds. However, for businesses conducted on a higher scale there’s still a problem of getting the message concisely across to the investors.
“Your whole business may be one line of code away from being the next big thing”
Esports Insider: How can igaming operators better appeal to gamers?
Jovan: By listening to their users. Companies conducting business successfully in this industry are where they are because they took their users’ feedback on board.
Don’t be afraid to take chances but always have a plan B if your initial strategy doesn’t work. Your whole business may be one line of code away from being the next big thing.