Over the past three years, video game streaming has exploded into a young but powerful industry. Tech giants competed over Twitch before Amazon swooped up the company for $970 million and YouTube just launched a rival service of its own. A staggering 205 million people watched or played competitive gaming worldwide in 2014 — more than most U.S. sporting events — as eSports continues to gain more and more legitimacy.
Seattle-based Matcherino hopes to capitalize on that massive following with its live streaming engagement platform. Fans can fund matches between their favorite players or even compete against the pros, who can use Matcherino to get paid for their matches and interact with followers.
“Our goal is to be the platform where fans go to request content from their favorite gaming pros and celebrities,” said CEO Grant Farwell. “Matcherino enriches the interaction between online video gaming broadcasters and their fans by providing tools that take audience engagement to the next level.”
We caught up with Grant for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Matcherino provides tools for video game streamers to interact with their fans.”
Inspiration hit us when: “When we looked around and realized that there was no easy way to set up a match between our favorite players. We saw that fans we’re trying to do this anyway, so we realized building a specific tool for this activity needed to happen.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We’re funded through YC and Fruition Ventures. We like to make sure our investors are experienced and able to help.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “The secret sauce must remain a secret.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Trying to get in touch with big casters/players. Once we befriended some of them and they saw what we were making they’ve been really eager to tell the other professional gamers.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Choosing the right technologies in the very beginning. When you first get the idea, you want to get a prototype up and running ASAP which can cause a lot of technical debt.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg! Our site has a number of social aspects, so we think he would have the best insight into the world we are looking to create.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Playing Catan.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “One of the things we look for when hiring is what kind of side projects someone has. Among other things it shows initiative and creativity.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re building. There will be plenty of times you second guess yourself, and what will keep you going is deeply caring about your product.”
Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the 11 startups participating in the Techstars Seattle incubator in the lead up to the Demo Day pitch event on Oct. 27. Techstars applications for its next class open up Sept. 21.