It's the people that make the company and the product. I've known these founders through my time as CTO, MTV Networks, Yahoo Entertainment, and Myspace. These are the creative, digital "real thing."
Nobody knows gaming as well as these two guys and nobody knows better how to deliver a quality digital interactive experience. They literally live it and breathe it. And, importantly, they are both proven entrepreneurs to boot - you can trust them with your money.
MindGames is the culmination of nearly 20 years of sports-oriented interactive game theory and development. Eric & Larry are pioneers, innovators and leaders in this particular entertainment form. Their games tap core interests of all sports fans who are steeped in sports history and want to share their passion in a competitive environment.
My friends at MindGames are longtime interactive gaming minds with extensive track records of success. I've worked with both Larry and Eric before, and I'm sure their current venture is a winner. They get this space, and they're going to succeed.
MindGames builds trivia and knowledge-based games for fans of sports, music, politics and more. Fans compete with other fans and against their archrivals for pride, prizes and fun. Our games are distributed through the Web, Facebook and mobile.
The first MindGames product is a suite of sports-specific casual social games. These free, quick-to-play games allow fans to compete for their favorite teams and against their archrivals. The game is a single-player experience, allowing fans to play trivia and knowledge-based challenges such as player image identification and ordering/stacking puzzles. Fans compete for fun, team pride, status and sports memorabilia prizes.
MindGames has partnered with the NFL Players Association to launch MindSports Football on Facebook. We use licensed player photos as virtual trading cards: collectible cards used to unlock bonuses and special features. We generate revenue by selling these cards, and through advertising and sponsorship. A demo of our baseball trivia game was also developed on Facebook in 2010.
The appeal of trivia gaming is acutely strong for sports fans, for whom having a deep knowledge of the game is ingrained in the culture. Yet this large audience, with more than 30MM playing fantasy games, is currently being underserved by both the sports media sites and casual game developers. This audience doesn't want CityVille dressed up as CollegeTown - they want content and formats that are native to them.
We are currently in terms negotiation on a unique opportunity to license content from the NBA to develop MindSports NBA Basketball, leveraging team logos and retired player images. In parallel we are speaking with the NHL and the NHL Players Association about development of MindSports Hockey. And we are exploring other relationships both domestic and internationally.
In the long term, we see our gaming platform as a leverageable asset that can be used to colonize new content verticals such as music, entertainment and politics, and also extended into the skill-gaming space.
We are seeking incremental investment to (1) develop seven additional casual sports games, (2) develop eight head-to-head sports skill games, enabling fans to legally wager on their knowledge, and (3) develop a massively multiplayer trivia and knowledge gaming tournament platform based on online poker.
MindGames founders Eric LaVanchy and Larry Tobin have worked together previously at AT&T Bell Labs. Collectively they have founded and sold a web gaming company, managed a leading European gaming brand, and built the fantasy sports business for Yahoo! and Fox - building games played by millions, that have generated tens of millions in revenue.
In 1999, Bottle Rocket, a company LaVanchy founded, built basic trivia games for the NFL, NBA and NHL, with 100,000s of monthly players – before social sites or the larger online audience of today. More recently, LaVanchy built a massively multiplayer version of Endemol’s “1 vs. 100” game show for Xbox Live that was downloaded by more than 2.5MM, with more than 114K playing in a single trivia tournament.
The initial suite of sports games generate revenue through sales of the virtual player cards, as well as traditional advertising and integrated sponsorship.
Currently, there is no direct competition in the market. But we face potential emerging competition from two sources: major sports media sites such as ESPN and Fanhouse, and game developers such as Playdom and Crowdstar. However, there are significant institutional barriers to entry for the above entities: lack of resources and core for sports media sites, and female focus and lack of 'sports DNA' for game developers.