A Northern Ireland company is proving it’s game-on in the multi billion dollar social gaming market. Adrienne McGill reports
A pair of entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, who have developed an innovative gaming product, have launched it in the US market.
Technology expert Aaron Taylor and software developer Martin Scott, have created Gogamingo - an innovative gaming platform. Unlike other social gaming providers Gogamingo allows gamers to compete for real, tangible prizes in the virtual world. The platform is extremely appealing to all the key constituents of the games market and the technology is targeted at major game developers and advertisers outside Northern Ireland.
Using the platform, gamers can pay a small fee for the chance to compete against each other and win a valuable tournament prize. The game developer receives a large portion of this revenue while the brands offering the prizes benefit from exposure to the sought after gamer demographic.
The idea is that this will engage more players for a longer amount of time, and it will generate revenue for Gogamingo, who then shares it with their partner developers. At the same time, Gogamingo is working with companies and their brands to provide prizes as a way for retailers to reach out to an engaged gamer audience.
Right now, Gogamingo is working with a number of developers that have a combined user base of around 1 million people and will use this as a proving ground to convince bigger developers to come on board.
The social gaming market is forecast to be worth $12bn by 2015, but Aaron and Martin believe existing companies in the sector have failed to turn huge bases of players into substantial revenues.
Their expansion in the US market follows research and development and export marketing assistance from Invest Northern Ireland.
Invest NI has offered £140,000 to help Gogamingo develop this technology and target customers in Great Britain, North America and Asia. The company, which has offices in Belfast and New York, also aims to create 10 new jobs in a variety of positions over the next three years as part of its growth strategy.
Invest NI’s support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Development Programme for Northern Ireland, towards the company’s overall investment of £840,000.
Aaron Taylor said: “We spotted a niche in the casual gaming market and with Invest NI’s assistance moved as quickly as possible to position ourselves as a leader in this space. Our monetisation model will revolutionise this market by offering a solution that is attractive to web developers, advertisers and players alike. Our product launch in New York City is an exciting new business venture that will allow us to develop and capture a larger market share of the lucrative North American market.”
Over the past year, the company progressed to the second phase of Invest Northern Ireland’s Propel programme, which aims to fast-track the growth of early stage companies with export potential.
The company, which is just a year old, has received also investment from the E-Synergy Invest Growth Fund. The financing round has allowed the company to prove the business model and prove the scalability of the technology.
Tristan Brittain-Dissont, Fund Manager for E-Synergy’s Northern Ireland Spin Out Funds, has joined the Gogamingo board. “We are extremely excited about the investment into Gogamingo. At a time when 70 per cent of game developers are struggling to break even, the platform will give games creators and distributors access to a recurring revenue stream”, he said.
Aaron said the company was very lucky to have a great team of advisors and investors who bring a wealth of insight and experience.
“E-Synergy in particular helped us from a very early stage, introducing us to other tech innovators and investors in London and New York. Their support has been invaluable the whole way through”, he added.
Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Research and Development said: “Gogamingo has demonstrated the innovative and creative thinking which local companies need to seek out international market opportunities and take advantage of them.
“Invest NI’s assistance, particularly with research and development, has enabled Gogamingo to create a product that gives it a considerable competitive edge. Targeting potential new customers in the US will help the company maximise the full potential of its product and also contribute to the growth of our economy.”