Shotcall raised $ 2.2 million in a seed capital round to create a platform for the formation of gaming communities and marketplaces for fans.
Shotcall is a new Techstars Accelerator Alumni, empowering people to create communities around games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and more. Shotcall’s founders are Thomas Gentle, Gordon Li and Riley Auten. They thought fan communities should evolve beyond live streaming, where fans only see their favorite players, message boards, and online media.
“Shotcall is the destination for fans to play with their favorite people,” said Gentle in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s a marketplace, but also a platform. If you have a fan base and you’re a gamer, Shotcall should be your place. If you are a streamer, content creator, professional gamer, celebrity, artist, and athlete, we see gaming as the ideal medium for you to connect with fans. “
Initial Capital and New Stack led the way with contributions from Lerer Hippeau.
“There are dozens of websites for coaching, tournaments, and betting games,” said Gentle. “We’re approaching this with a different mentality. These other sites appear to have been built with the assumption that these communities and hosts are static. If I were a coach for a game, I wouldn’t always be like that forever. I can get bored with a game. We’re built so that my interactions with fans can evolve. That is what sets us apart. “
Starting with a stutter
Photo credit: Shotcall
Gentle said his love for gaming went way back. When he was younger he spoke with a stutter. He was drawn to play because it didn’t matter that he spoke hesitantly.
“The reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be,” he said. “When I grew up, I was essentially mute. I’ve played online to build relationships, make friends, and find communities. It was a part of my life forever. And as you grow up with it as your only means of interaction for a long time, you discover that gaming is more than just that stigma of the social outcast in a basement. This is how I really made friends all over the world. “
Gentle met his co-founders at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a degree in business administration. He almost walked the pre-med street, but gambling pulled him out of this life. They all started a business and were funded by the Alliance of Angels.
The company started in 2019 and carried out a beta test in the spring. Since then, the number of users has increased by 40% every month. The team has grown to 14 people.
The appeal of social gaming
Photo credit: Shotcall
Social media sites like Facebook are bigger than any single gaming community, but in a series of tweets, investor Peter Rojas noted on Tuesday that games make people feel more comfortable and create a safe space with structured play and unstructured space from social networks can tend to make people quarrel with each other.
Social gaming has exploded this year, which isn’t surprising given the number of people stuck at home due to the pandemic. I know for myself that it was a great way to keep in touch with friends. But why do games work as well as social experiences? A few thoughts on that:
– Peter Rojas (@peterrojas), October 27, 2020
Shotcall hopes that its platform can enhance games as the intersection of social discourse and transcend subcultures so fans can step into the worlds of their favorite games and play directly with top developers, influencers and celebrities. You can imagine Twitch hitting Cameo or the newer Taki platform for fan transactions. The aim is to appeal to both big celebrities and amateurs.
Shotcall’s marketplace is a way to plan and monetize all kinds of community events to be run by promoters, including tournaments, coaching sessions, Q&A, queues, charities, one-on-one competitions, and much more. The Shotcall platform is already a hub for the gaming community and offers numerous events that fans can register for.
In April, the Seattle Sounders professional football team hosted events on the Shotcall platform where fans could stream and play games with their favorite players for a fee. It sold out within minutes and all proceeds were donated to the Sounders COVID-19 Relief Fund.
There are no initial costs associated with accessing the Shotcall platform and marketplace. Users can create profiles that show their availability to play, highlight their favorite games and include links to their personal social media pages to connect with other players in the area. Hosts have the option to create profiles on the marketplace that fans can register on to pay to play with them. Shotcall’s model is aimed at developers focused on improving follower engagement, which is critical to growing their overall brand.
Shotcall is currently live and will use this first round of funding to expand the platform to integrate with more game makers and expand the hosting capabilities with more celebrities and artists in the market. That way, it sounds like rivals like ReadyUp, which fans can use to keep track of esports and gaming events.
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