Esports.travel is a new startup founded by former senior writer Matt Chesser, esports team manager Joe Eastham and three time Dota 2 Major champion coach Seb “7ckngMad” Debs. To somewhat over simplify, they’re an esports travel agency; the company’s aim is to make esports events more accessible for the everyday person.
We spoke to two of the co-founders, Matt and Joe, about how the intriguing idea came about and their goals for the new company.
ESI: The idea behind this is great – how exactly did it come about?
Matt Chesser: What you see on the Esports.travel website now the result of about a year of continually refining and developing things and ideas in order to develop a product that appeals to everyone.
A travel agency focused on esports can mean any number of things – and I can say that because we literally built any number of things. Most have been largely been discarded as we figured they wouldn’t work and new ideas would work better.
What you now see is a group effort. It was everyone saying “I think this would work, or I think that would work” and putting all of the ideas together and picking the best of the bunch.
ESI: It’s a somewhat intriguing trio of co-founders, with all of you from different backgrounds. How did the three of you meet and end up collaborating?
Joe Eastham: I used to manage Sebs team when he played professionally. Matt initially approached Seb with a glimmer in his eye and the idea – and Seb brought it to me and said “do you think this has traction – we can have a listen and go from there”. With Seb being a Business Major at one of the top business schools in France it worked out really well. It’s a great mix. I myself have ideas coming out of my arse. With regards to the travel agency, having been a manager of professional teams – I have experience of booking flights for a whole esports collective so I kind of knew what I was looking for.
Matt Chesser: When Joe says the idea came from myself – it’s arguably a little too favourable for me. I haven’t focused on this full time – but as we all know for anyone involved in esports its sort of viewed as a passion as well. Whilst I was doing other things I was always trying to force myself to make time and come back and work on this.
Joe is probably being modest when e says ideas are coming out of his arse as they actually come out of all areas of him. His vision is “extreme” arguably. I can’t say in all of my dealings, across all walks of life that I’ve met someone with a clearer picture of what he wants and how it should be implemented. You can say “Joe what do you think of this?” and historically the response has not been as good as it can be – but Joe comes up with a way to use the idea and make it better.
ESI: How does it work with all of you being based in different places & whats the driving force behind the project?
Matt Chesser: We have myself in the US, Joe in the UK, Seb in France as well a developer and very talented lady helping us from Canada. The international focus has always there with this project. The ability to utilise so many different skillsets, opinions, outlooks and life experiences is pretty unique to esports which makes it the most fascinating field for me.
Joe Eastham: The best part about esports for me is that no one started off as an expert in their field. People founded organisations just because they wanted to and asked for some free gear – and now we’re looking at huge sponsorships. There was no such thing as an esports journalist a few years back and now there is – so why can’t there be an esports travel agency like esports.travel?
ESI: What’s the ultimate aim with this? How much traction and feedback have you received?
Matt Chesser: Esports.travel is going to be largely whatever the community wants it to be. The goal we have is to allow more people to attend esports events, after all, we all want to see our friends at events across the world. I would love to go and hang out with Joe and Seb at an event whenever the circumstances align – what else do we do in esports other than make (friends and sometimes enemies) with the people we play with online? The idea to see these people at events was the main driving force behind it. Really, it will become whatever helps that mission.
“This was made by fans, for fans. We welcome and actively encourage feedback”
We’ve already seen feedback such as we should integrate with AirBnB which is a great idea and something we’re looking into. We aim to keep listening and adapting accordingly.
Joe Eastham: There’s other features like room sharing that we want to implement on Esports.travel. We want a way for people to offer rooms or a bed in their humble abode. Similar to the way you can apply for a property on AirBNB but then you can get to know them. You play a few games with them, derank or lose some MMR with them online and then stay with them for the duration of whichever event. It’s a way to bring cost down.
Another big thing from my perspective is the development of a backend for esports teams.
We want to have a feature where they can build in or list their players departure airports and passport numbers securely on our sever so whenever they have to go to an event they can just say “book me team A” to Frankfurt and it’ll automatically find the 5 players info. It saves having to find and open a notepad document from when you onboarded the player.
“Ultimately, we want to simplify the process and make esports more accessible to the everyday person”
The end goal is to have all of that and to be the person that is providing the tickets. You can have one ticket, in one inbox for the whole of the trip rather having to use Ticketmaster (which everyone complains about). You could get your DreamHack ticket included with your flight as well as hotel and transfers. It would make it so much more convenient to have one email with your whole itinerary than multiple little parts. We’ve all forgotten logins etc and it’s just a big pain. Ultimately, we want to simplify the process and make esports more accessible to the everyday person.
To find out more about the company – head to their website here: esports.travel.