Sydney-based Gamer Institute is an educational platform for competitive gamers, founded by Bosco Tan, Daniel Grzelak and Semin Nurkic last year.
The business has partnered with IvyLoL.com, a global amateur collegiate competition for the popular riot game League of Legends, with tournaments attracting almost 3,000 players.
Tan talks to StartupSmart about going for gold in the gaming industry.
What is your background and how did it prompt you to establish Gamer Institute?
My background is in years of consulting, and subsequently working on strategic projects at one of the largest Australian and New Zealand media companies.
My co-founders have many years of corporate and start-up experience. Together, we have a unique mix of commercial and technical backgrounds, and a diverse combination of experiences, including past successes in building and growing websites to acquisition.
Daniel, our CEO, is the originator of the Gamer Institute idea. His “imagine if we could learn to play basketball from Michael Jordan” pitch sold it.
Following a range of preliminary research into the growth of gaming globally, and looking at the success of similar models in primary education (Khan Academy) and poker (CardRunners), we were convinced there was an amazing opportunity.
We believe we can contribute to the 20% projected growth of the emergent competitive gaming (eSports) industry over the next five years, which today is already valuated at US$1.5 billion globally.
With the overall gaming market at US$65 billion today, there is also a sizeable audience globally who wishes to just be competitive within their social circles.
How long did you work on the business before you launched it?
Above: Bosco Tan, Daniel Grzelak and Semin Nurkic
We have spent the past six months working on the platform and developing various industry networks, recruiting professional gamers and seeking relevant partners.
How did you fund the business and what were your start-up costs?
We bootstrapped the business ourselves, drawing on our personal capital as well as proceeds from the successful exit of a previous project, ShouldIChangeMyPassword.com – a website which allows individuals to check whether their emails are present in hacked databases.
How did you convince IvyLol.com to partner with you?
One of the first things you’d find when launching a marketing campaign in any start-up is that there is an ocean of adjacent organisations eager to grow in any way possible.
IvyLoL recognised the value we could add through sponsorship to their competition participants, as well as the potential to increase their already impressive global reach.
We in turn recognised that they provided us with a platform to reach a huge number of potential Gamer Institute users.
We put together a mutually beneficial deal and a few teleconferences later, it was agreed upon.
The key challenge here was to prove our worth as a “yet to be launched” organisation. I believe our professional and methodical approach, as well as a commitment to understanding their objectives and their audience, really helped to overcome these concerns.