Huge growth over the past few decades has seen the world of gaming grow into an industry generating billions for global software publishers.
The rise of smartphones and tablets led to the emergence of independent developers looking to combine people's love of games with the convenience of mobile devices.
There is now a large and diverse range of people playing, creating and discussing games across various channels, online and offline.
GamesGRABR is aiming to bring some order to this chaos with a community for gamers to get together, rather than competing against the constant digital noise of Twitter or the general discussion on Facebook.
The social platform was created by startup TeePee Games and launched as a beta in April 2014. There are now 10 people working on it in a shared office in London.
V3 put TeePee Games founder and serial entrepreneur Tony Pearce under the Startup Spotlight to find out more about gamesGRABR.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from fintech firm Ormsby Street, and cloud-based background checking service Onfido, to customer feedback system provider truRating and London restaurant discovery app firm Uncover.
Tell us more about gamesGRABR
GamesGRABR is a community for gamers by gamers. A social platform for people who love games, available on mobile, tablet and PC.
It gives the user the ability to share their favourite games, videos, accessories and geekery all in one place and be inspired by other gamers' collections.
Why did you develop the social platform?
I had the idea to create the biggest community of gamers, a place for them to share their passion and discover games. Discovery is still a massive issue for the games industry and it's getting worse.
For example, there's now over 900,000 apps on the app store and without spending £100,000 it's difficult to get discovered. gamesGRABR gives everyone the same chance in getting discovered whether you are big or small.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground
I wanted to solve the games discovery problem and realised technology is the answer. So first we created our ‘pinboard-style' interface, adding our own proprietary recommendation engine. It had to be so simple people would immediately get it and use it to create their own gaming collections.
Then we needed scale so we set up successful affiliate deals with retail giants Apple, Amazon and Game, plus we introduced our own e-commerce service via partnerships with Sony Genba, Codemasters, Warner Brothers and Capcom, among others, enabling us to offer games, special offers and discounts direct to our users.
What technology do you use?
Our site uses a lot of proprietary technology which we have developed ourselves. The site is hosted on AWS and CDN Network with dedicated DN clusters. SQL for analysis and non-SQL for quick lookups. We have a separate CMS and standalone mobile web site.
What level of funding have you received so far?
We've had two rounds of crowdfunding, the first in January 2014 raised £175,000 and the latest, just announced, raised £450,000 including £100,000 from the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF) for tech startups. We are the first investment by this fund in the crowdfunding space, a massive achievement.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
As a small company it's hard to partner with the big dominant companies, such as Disney and Sony. However, in recent months we've made these partnerships and have now launched games collections with them. It just shows that they recognise the quality and the potential of the product.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business to date?
Smashing our first crowdfunding target in just five weeks and realising people therefore love the idea. And launching the beta in April 2014, getting investment from the LCIF.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
Get hammered. Nothing better than a nice pint in Soho!
What did you do before starting up gamesGRABR?
I've always been in games. From the early video game days of Sega Megadrive and Nintendo I moved into mobile gaming 12 years ago. Before downloadable games were even available we were developing texting games.
Then I founded Europe and Asia's largest distributor of mobile games called Player X. It got acquired and I then founded TeePee Games.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
Best: celebrating the wins and hitting our development milestones.
Worst: early mornings and late nights.
If you could emulate the success of another startup, which would it be?
John Carmack, creator of Doom, one of my favourite games, and Fusajiro Yamauchi, founder of Nintendo.
Coffee shop of choice?
Flat White in Berwick Street.
Beverage of choice?
Pix in Soho.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
Yes, so much so I've even started my own networking event called the Centurions. We now have 2,500 members and run events in London, New York, Istanbul and Munich.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The government is doing a great job supporting startups, not just with tax benefits for investors but there are also funds available.
We were fortunate enough to catch the eye of Boris Johnson's LCIF which recently invested in gamesGRABR.
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