This year’s Pitch ICE showcased some of the most exciting new ideas within the online gaming space and once again proved that innovation is bubbling up within the industry as social gaming, sports-betting and payments providers went head-to-head to impress the event attendees.
In total 14 companies took to the stage at the ExCel in early February and over a hectic two days presented their companies to the exhibition attendees. Chris North, the chief executive at GamCrowd, said the show once again exceeded expectations.
“We drew some very impressive crowds,” he said. “We were delighted with the quality of the Pitch presentations and I think that anyone who watched nay of them would have come away with a clear impression of the impressive levels of innovation and invention on display.”
The idea of Pitch ICE is to give new companies and start-ups the platform and offer them a route to market. “The Pitch ICE event is what GamCrowd is all about,” added North. “It’s bringing ideas to the gambling crowd, and giving them the chance to give feedback to the entrepreneurs themselves. It’s about creating a positive feedback loop.”
Preparation is all
All the Pitch ICE contestants recommended after the experience that preparation was the key to making a success of the process. Andrew Ellis at Koodbee, the social gaming company, said “be ready with your KPIs”. “Anything you have that demonstrates user reaction and participation will be viewed as a credible and needed component of start-up development.”
“Although the presentation just fifteen minutes long, it requires hours of preparation both in designing the presentation, writing the scripts, getting the message right and of course practising. We recommend anyone considering pitching next year should be prepared to put in the work,” said Tina Rawlinson, founder and director of gaming services company Infinity Gaming.
Wouter van Andel of Techweare concurred and gave some practical advice: “Practice until you can dream the pitch, while creating circumstances as close to those at a noisy exhibition hall as possible. Try to cut out text which is not essential or 100% relevant.”
Laura da Silva Gomes from Silverfish which was promoting its DigitalRG responsible gaming product said one key message she would give anyone pitching at ICE in future would be to prepare as much as possible in advance meetings with key clients, prospects, investors. “ICE is big, there is a lot happening so it’s important to schedule everything in advance,” he said.
Part of the attraction of Pitch ICE is that so many start-ups are thrown together in the process. Olly Frank from fantasy sport company Top Flight Manager pointed out that the whole environment of the Pitch ICE stand was invigorating. “I found it very useful in terms of making me think about the business and then preparing and presenting the pitch,” he said. “It was the first time that I had done that in a while and it felt like something that I should practice. It was also good to me some of the other presenters as they are doing some really cool stuff.”
Using the show to your advantage
Along with the variety of content and ideas that came from the 14 participants, there were also a number of reasons for taking part in the show. Rawlinson from Infinity Gaming said that one of the prime reasons for taking to the stage at Pitch ICE was that it offered a relatively low-cost route to reaching the company’s target market. “Marketing costs to launch a business are considerable but Pitch ICE provided an initial platform for Infinity to promote itself directly to its target market for little or no cost, which is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for any new company involved in the e-Gaming industry,” she said.
Rawlinson added that following the two presentations over the two days the company had met up with a number of prospective clients and that these discussions were now progressing.
Similarly enthusiastic about the progress made post-event is Leigh Herdman, the founder of statistical modelling company AlgoSport which aims to provide more accurate algorithms to the sports-betting industry. He said Pitch ICE had been very useful and that the company had already generated leads and made some other useful contacts.
For Playventure, a betting solution that combines in-play with pool betting, the show was the first contact with the industry. “We managed to gather a quite big audience to attend our pitches and we were extremely satisfied about that,” said Katerina Mygiaki, marketing executive at the company. “What made us even happier, was that people were coming at our Stand to see the product themselves, after they heard our pitch. They found it very interesting and an idea with a wide perspective and we continue discussing about the product with some of them.”
As for whether other companies should consider Pitch ICE in future, David xxx from SourcePay was unequivocal. “GamCrowd organized a very professional and helpful pitch opportunity that provides valuable exposure,” he said. Michael Katz from Mikoapps, real-money apps developer, said he heartily recommends the experience. “We would recommend this process to any start-up looking to gain exposure in the gambling software development area.”