Innovation across the pond – a Gigse preview

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This week will see the latest edition of the Gigse Launchpad competition where the best online gaming-related ideas in the North American marketplace present themselves to the audience of iGaming professionals in San Diego. By way of a preview, GamCrowd took the opportunity to talk to each of the participants to gain an insight of the thinking that lies behind their business ideas and to see what they are hoping to gain from the exposure than the Launchpad offers.

No Halftime
Dave McKenzie, the co-founder of No HalfTime says the product is designed to create challenges for peer-to-peer fantasy players and says the product fills the gap between season-long fantasy and its daily variant. The company was formed in 2013 but only truly got up-and-running two years later. It has received $600,000 in funding to date from friends and family investment and will be looking for more funding this year. The obvious issue with daily fantasy sports is that thrown up by the regulatory situation, but McKenzie believes that the market leaders DraftKing and FanDuel have at least done the job of setting up a regulatory framework. McKenzie and his three co-founders think that Gigse will be the company’s “coming-out party” and he is hopeful they will be meeting new potential investors.

PropSwap
PropSwap is a marketplace and service provider, where users can list their betting slips for sale, along with storing these slips for safe-keeping. As all slips must return to Nevada upon winning, Luke Pergande, founder of PropSwap, says that the company provides a storage service where visitors can leave them with the company. Once PropSwap has the ticket (and has verified its legitimacy), it also may be posted for sale. PropSwap takes a fee only if the ticket sells, or if it wins. The company was formed in late 2015 and has received total funding of $120,000 from friends and family investors. Pergande previously with Bloomberg for three-and-a-half years while partner Ian Epstein was previously working at Las Vegas-based sportsbook technology provider CG Technology.

UPlay1
The central idea behind Uplay1 is invention of Hybrid RNG and Hybrid gaming, says founder Ronnie Silletti. He adds that a Hybrid RNG is a new class of RNG that blends physical RNGs with virtual RNGs. The significance of Hybrid RNG is that it scales the number of players of a live game that requires decisions such as Blackjack to any number of players. Though the company has been up-and-running for quite a while – five-and-a-half years – it remains bootstrapped. Silletti says the biggest issue the company has faced is the long lead time to receive issued patents. In terms of technology, Silletti says that the company uses the same technologies that live dealer companies use featuring an overlay of digital content and content delivery service. In the next 12 months, UPlay1 hopes to be raising capital and commercialising its Hybrid Blackjack product.

nQube
This entrant features some serious scientific endeavour. Founder Jason Fiege is a professor of astrophysics and had been tackling complex mathematical questions his whole life. nQube itself specialises in the development of artificial intelligence-based algorithms and software designed to solve very difficult non-linear parameter search and optimization problems. The core technology is the Qubist Global Optimization Toolbox which represents 15-plus years of continuous R&D and testing, and has resulted in an extraordinarily powerful and full-featured AI-based platform. The company’s casino floor optimisation package harnesses nQube’s optimisation software to show the operator exactly how to organise a gaming floor to maximise gaming revenue. It uses a sophisticated non-linear mathematical model of player behaviour and machine attributes to harness machine-level data and design a floor layout that maximizes gaming floor revenue and profits. The company has bene active for two years and is bootstrapped. The technology is undoubtedly impressive. Fiege says it is a unique ‘linkage-learning’ artificial intelligence system, which he designed to solve challenging optimization problems by a divide-and-conquer strategy, which is similar to how a human would tackle a complex problem – by mathematically reducing it to a set of smaller, simpler sub-problems, which are easier to solve.
 
TradeDuel
This is the first fully-regulated fantasy stock trading platform where users pay to enter into discrete stock trading competitions for cash prizes. The players are playing against each other, not the markets and the way the product is set up, players can form leagues of friends or colleagues. The duration of the games is also flexible, from five to 20 days and – at present – virtual prizes. “At TradeDuel, we’re changing the way people engage with the stick market with a social, gamified competitive experience,” says founder Ronnie Silletti. “Gamification has the power to shape incentives and reward successful habits so that customers can train themselves to make profitable decisions and outperform their peers.” The company is “almost fully” bootstrapped says Silletti, who spent a decade previously working as a technology consultant at Accenture. He believes that Gigse is a “great place for us to get recognised and gain exposure to industry and sector leadership.”