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Company Spotlight: Bleacher League

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Bleacher League brings sports fans closer to the game by allowing them to wager virtual dollars (and soon real cash) in real-time, on what their favorite or most hated player will do as they step up to the plate or line of scrimmage, while competing against friends, fans and other team rivals for their bank and position in the leaderboard and earning special bonuses and status for everything they do from being the biggest trash talker to having the longest win streak. Bleacher League is built on a proprietary real-time sports data server (fastest in the market) with approved patents on the data and predictions platform.

Why they will win:

  1. Bleacher League is led by Serial Entrepreneurs and previous VCs they know how to raise (closed $750,000 to date) and manage money (this raise gives them 12 months of autonomy)
  2. They cut high exposure distribution deals with major sports brands guaranteeing several million exposures every month (more details TBA soon).
  3. They have brought on YetiZen mentors Matt Mihaly (considered by many as the father of virtual goods) and Josh Rose (designer of over 12 mobile social games) as designers.

Company Spotlight: Casualing

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Casualing is a multi-platform competitive casual game network that allows players to compete with and bet against other users using a range of platform virtual currencies like Facebook credits and Papayas.

Why they will win:

  1. Founder & CEO of Casuailing Kostas Kibouris, is a serial entrepreneur who is well-known in the game space for organizing massive, Europe-wide, consumer facing gaming tournaments, giving him a powerful BD network in games.
  2. They have a rockstar technology team in Buenos Aires and a powerful business office in London, offering low cost, strong development talent and many white labeling opportunities within the gambling industry
  3. They have established powerhouse distribution and monetization deals with Playhaven, Facebook, Papaya, Verizon, AT&T, Vixamo, HeyZap and many more.

Company Spotlight: Spyra

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Spyra specializes in making strategy games for the iOS and Android platform that are targeted towards the under-served and growing adult male midcore market.

Why they will win:

  1. The founding members of Spyra have impressive backgrounds in management and production at Zynga, Playdom, Playfirst, Outspark, EA, Google, Proctor & Gamble, and Microsoft.
  2. They are data junkies, and understand all the right levers to pull in order to grow and monetize their games.
  3. Within 1 month at Yetizen they created key partnerships and raised funding towards their analytics infrastructure and first game launch.

Company Spotlight: Shinobi Labs

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Shinobi Labs is the creator of “stealth health games” games that inspire healthier behavior without players even knowing it. Their first game Mobile Adventure Walks, is a cross between Geocaching and Foursquare, with a dash of community building and family fun activities thrown into the mix.

Why they will win:

  1. Shinobi Labs has received massive exposure and public recognition at industry events like Health 2.0 conference and in industry publications like Gamification.co
  2. They are already in talks with prestigious health groups like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign (we heard through the grapevine that the Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will go on a Mobile Adventure Walk while the game is featured in DC at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting later this month).
  3. They are they happiest founders you will ever meet; once you meet them you will want to help them achieve success.

Company Spotlight: SkillAddiction

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Skilladdiction are the makers of Skillville a competitive, casual gaming tournament platform that lets players connect to and compete with others for cash and prizes in fun and easy-to-learn casual games. Their platform combines a casual gaming portal, a casino website and a healthy dose of social elements to produce an addictive and engaging gaming experience.

Why they will win:

  1. SkillAddiction has a proven business model, with lifetime values of Skillville players averaging at $90 with an acquisition cost of as little as $10.
  2. They have strong relationships with developers, which affords them the ability to aggregate quality games at a very high speed.
  3. They are fast expanding into mobile with plans to own that space as well.

Company Spotlight: BitPollen

October 25, 2011

What they do:

BitPollen delivers premium players with demonstrated value by analyzing user behavior across different games and platforms, and by giving rewards and incentives to players who add value to the games they play.

Why they will win:

  1. BitPollen has an impressive catalog of work experience at places like Crowdstar, Santa Cruz Games, Digitial Chocolate, and Mighty Play.
  2. Leveraging an expert understanding of social networks, analytics, and psychology, BitPollen gives developers players who are more likely to engage with and add value to their games.
  3. They already have received 2 funding offers from well known investors (more details to be announced soon)

Company Spotlight: Viroxoty

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Viroxoty creates female-oriented games for Facebook, developing popular franchises that can then extend to smartphones, tablets, and international social networks.

Why they will win:

1.Viroxoty learned the Facebook platform very quickly, with a development process that produces analytic-based iterations to achieve optimal revenue.
2. Their user acquisition costs have been tightly focused and low-cost, allowing them to create a user-base which monetizes with high lifetime values.
3. Their passion for female-oriented role-playing games, combined with a capacity for strong execution, has made them a promising partner for a number of large well-known publishers (more details to be announced soon)

Company Spotlight: DreamsLair Entertainment

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Italy-based social games maker DreamsLair Entertainment is a social gaming startup focused on developing mid to hard core games for Facebook and mobile platforms. DreamsLair Entertainment’s vision is to create digital entertainment that that will become synonymous with innovation and social interaction.  Their low costs of their Italian production team ensures a high profit ratio.

Why they will win:

  1. DreamsLair has created artwork that is unrivaled by anything else on Facebook; each scene is rendered so beautifully that Boris Vallejo would be proud.  They have often been called “The World of Warcraft of Social.”  Before coming to us, DreamsLair already had a  team of 13 members.
  2. During the closed beta of their first title Ashtaria, on average users were playing for 1.5 hours per day.
  3. They are ahead of the game in marketing with their strong understanding and vision for social mobile game success.

Company Spotlight: Neko Neko

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Neko Neko is a game development and publishing company specializing in adapting top-rated games from Japan to the US market. Their first game, “’Vanguard Princess,” has seen over 2 million downloads worldwide and will soon be playable on an assortment of cloud-based platforms.

Why they will win:

  1. Neko Neko Founders Taiko Fujimura and Austin Osueke come from an impressive background in comic book publishing, and their diverse network of connections has afforded them exclusice rights to content other publishers have tried and failed to get.
  2. They have built relationships with cloud distribution platforms like Spoon, Amazon, and OnLive.
  3. They have firm understanding of game mechanics and the redesign needed in porting console titles to cloud PC and mobile platforms.

Company Spotlight: Bushi-go

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Bushi-go is a new media company developing core-quality adventure games for iOS and Android based devices. Episodic content has already proven to be profitable under the right conditions, and Bushi-go is working to disrupt the traditional delivery model, providing high-quality interactive games.

Why they will win:

  1. Bushi-go has an innovative model for delivering episodic content, giving players the chance to expand the game universe laterally, and giving those who take advantage of the in-app purchases a more engrossing experience.
  2. They boast an experienced team that includes veterans from Sony, Digital Chocolate and Legacy Interactive.
  3. They are targeting high-monetizing, under-served markets.

Company Spotlight: Pontaba

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Pontaba is the creator of Starlogic, a 2D and 3D synchronous and asynchronous HTML5 game platform that allows games to be deployed across multiple devices with one click while drastically cutting down development time.

Why they will win:

  1. The founding members of Pontaba are some of the most charming personalities in the games space. Their ability to warm up hostile rooms in seconds makes them natural deal makers.
  2. HTML5 is the next big thing in game development — no charge to developers in appstores, one button deployment, etc — and Pontaba is leading the charge.  When considering Facebook’s next move to an HTML5 based mobile platform, we will see an unprecendented disruption in the gaming industry, and Pontaba is ready to lead the charge.
  3. They have established powerful relationships with reward networks, distribution partners, and monetization networks, thereby incentivizing developers to join their platform.  They already have garnered incredible traction with some amazing partners (more details to be announced soon)

Company Spotlight: Gabagool Games

October 25, 2011

What they do:

Gabagool Games’ hilarious, retro-styled and action-packed games team with ninjas, zombies and awesome boss battles, so it’s no wonder that they caught our eye. Along with genuinely funny and rewarding content, they also have a knack for naming their games; who wouldn’t want a game called Ghost Ninja Zombie Beatdown?

Why they will win:

1.      CEO Sebastian Santacroce has more than 7 years of experience developing, designing and managing mobile games.
2.      They’ve seen more than 200k downloads in a single month with limited marketing; just imagine what they could do with more!
3.     They’ve demonstrated  impressive metrics: a 44% retention rate in October and 2.8 minutes of play time per average session

Workshop: James Gatto

October 26, 2011

James Gatto, leader of the Social Media, Entertainment and Technology team at Pillsbury LLP, shared his expertise in patent law and IP strategies with us here at YetiZen. James talked about emmerging business models, marketing strategies, and virtual currency tactics, as well as the legal issues that often arise therein. He described the different costs and benefits of copyrights and patents before delving into a few case examples that clearly demonstrated the issues at risk in virtual games and social media. He talked about the types of assets that can be protected and how to figure out when you should patent something instead of copyright it. He also went over the basics of case law pertaining to video games and made mention of some common misconceptions about the difficulty of filing a patent. James concluded by emphasizing the importance of seeking legal counsel throughout the process. The most important take away from Jame’s workshop taught was the value of accomplishing goals within the bounds of the law.