GamCrowd boss highlights funding challenge for start-ups

GamCrowd boss highlights funding challenge for start-ups

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 Totally Gaming
Ahead of EiG, Chris North underlines industry’s innovation potential

Chris North, chief executive and co-founder of GamCrowd, has outlined the challenges facing many start-ups in the “marmite” gaming sector.

North has overseen the successful rise of GamCrowd, a gambling-focused crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing platform that offers support to other start-ups. GamCrowd will once again be powering the Start-Up LaunchPad competition at EiG 2015 in Berlin later this year.

“It is hard raising money for a gambling industry start-up as it a marmite sector,” North told TotallyGaming.com. “You can immediately take out about 70 per cent of people that invest in start-ups due to this.

“Then you have the challenges that are unique to our sector with licensing and banking. The bar is set too high for start-ups currently by the regulators. They need to look at creating a licensing structure that allows start-ups a cost effective way to test their ideas on real money punters to get the KPIs investors need to see to put the second round funding in. Maybe the regulator could then put a deal in place with a bank to solve the issue of banks not supporting our industry. 

“Once you have got through these challenges, you then need to establish some KPIs so investors can see some traction with your idea. I am always impressed with the innovative ways I see start-ups navigate these challenges.

“I think my point here is the entrance process into our industry is broken and it needs some thought if we are going to drive ideas and innovation.”

In spite of the challenges, North is convinced that the gaming industry is entering a “golden era for ideas and innovation” due to the “convergence of our industry where the casino floor and your phone just become access points to our businesses”.

He added: “The utopia for our industry, where you can track and reward our players with data about them that has never been seen before, is not far around the corner.

“My role for now within the industry is to continue to build GamCrowd and our platform into where the industry can access our crowd of skills and expertise from around the world to help build their businesses.”

North navigated his way into the gaming industry in the mid 1990s via sport. Having started out playing for English rugby union team Harlequins in the amateur era, he moved to Hong Kong to play semi-professionally for Kowloon RFC and the Hong Kong national side.

“I got involved in the gambling industry when I was in Hong Kong,” said North. “I owned a business called Brand Guardian, which worked with companies like Ladbrokes and Macau Slot looking at their marketing and branding as they moved online.

“I liked the space as I could see that the internet was built for the gambling industry and decided it was something I wanted to get involved in.”

After founding Inside Gaming, he went on to become managing director of both Fox Poker Club and Northmeads. He established GamCrowd in 2010 and believes the challenge is to continue to help in the development of growing businesses in the sector.

“I love start-ups and the excitement that comes with working with new and disruptive ideas,” North said. “GamCrowd has been at the forefront of bringing the power of the crowd to the gambling industry. 

“We have looked at crowd-funding and have learnt a lot from that process. We have launched the first crowd-sourcing platform for our industry in beta and have had lots of feedback from our customers which we have used and will re-launch the platform soon.”

* EiG 2015 will take place at Arena Berlin in Germany from October 20-22. For more information visit www.eigexpo.com

 

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