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Perth-based Start-up To Attend Global iGaming Summit & Expo, Startup Launchpad: Success Stories

Perth-based start-up will present at global gaming summit

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 20 April 2012

A Perth-based gaming start-up that allows players to monetise virtual casinos will present at a global gaming summit in San Francisco, ahead of a $5 million IPO in Australia.


Virtual Gaming Worlds, led by sole founder Laurence Escalante, has developed a game platform that allows players to create and monetise their own virtual casinos with real money.


Their platform, Chumba World, is currently in beta testing.


Virtual Gaming Worlds has been invited to speak at the Global iGaming Summit & Expo’s (GiGse) Startup Launchpad in San Francisco next month.


GiGse is considered the premier event for the online gambling industry in North America, and Startup Launchpad recognises disruptive start-ups that blend gambling and social gaming.


This year, Startup Launchpad will present five new companies that offer a disruptive approach to gaming. The businesses were selected from a group of 20 applicants.


They will be quizzed by a panel of industry experts, and the audience will vote for their favorite. The prize at stake is the opportunity to exhibit at GiGse 2013.


According to Escalante, Virtual Gaming Worlds was invited to present at the summit, rather than having to apply, and is the only Australian company that will make a presentation.


“What we’re doing is basically what the Startup Launchpad was designed for, so we’ve got a strong chance to win… It’s everything we’ve been building for the last 18 months,” he says.


“I think the biggest prize will be the press and the investor return.”


Virtual Gaming Worlds is in the process of preparing its prospectus for an unlisted $5 million initial public offering in Australia. Escalante says there’s a particular reason for this.


“I found out why people don’t build gambling gaming companies in Silicon Valley – because venture capitalists in Silicon Valley cannot invest in gambling gaming,” he says.


“That’s because the money they invest is not their own money.”


“[Our IPO] goes around the board for its first review on Monday, and will be filed with ASIC in two or three weeks.”


Interestingly, Escalante is the only team member based in Perth – the rest of his staff are scattered throughout the world, while the majority of the directors are based in Sydney.


“My entire engineering team is in India. Some of my designers are in the Philippines, and I have animators in France and New York,” he says.


“I run everything virtually via Skype and a tool called oDesk, which facilitates a team room and takes shots of team members’ screens every 10 minutes.”

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