EiG LaunchPad judge provides four tips for start-ups

EiG LaunchPad judge provides four tips for start-ups

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Carla Maree Vella of Optimizer Invest has some advice for new companies

Start-ups wanting to win the EiG LaunchPad have been advised to prepare for all kinds of questions by one of the competition’s judges.

Carla Maree Vella of Optimizer Invest is on the judging panel of the LaunchPad event, the gambling industry’s main spotlight for innovative new ideas and companies, and she expects entrants to know every facet of their business.

“Prepare for questions!” she advised. “I’ll be asking A LOT of questions like: What is in it for the customer? How you plan to onboard the customer? What insights does your data give you and what are you doing with that data? What makes you and your team special?

“I’m interested in the games. I’ve worked on the operator side and I come from a marketing and UX background so I’m keen to see more on the product side and learn more about the psychology of gaming and engagement.”

Carla is CEO at Optimizer Invest, a fully founder funded VC, based out of Malta, with broad investments across the igaming, ecomm and fintech sectors. “We are a hands on VC,” Carla explained. “When it comes to our holdings we been the force behind 14 acquistions, one IPO, one merger and two sales. We look for companies that have great products and great people who are looking for smart funding and support to go the extra mile.”

Given Carla's involvement in the day to day operations of a handful of the companies as well as scouting for new potential companies to join the company’s portfolio, she has a keen eye for start-ups.

She also believes that the gambling industry is an innovative space: “Be it new campaigns, better communication and targeting or new technologies that drive the interfaces - there are some fantastic innovative projects going on. I’m excited! This sector is a great place to challenge traditions and think more outside the box.

“The most commercial trend I’ve seen is the development and launch of VR into gaming - it’s so exciting. A number of casinos are taking steps in that direction and I feel there is more coming our way in this space.”

She also believes that regulation is necessary and not necessarily a hindrance to creativity. “I think that it is there for good reason,” she said. “If you think regulation is your limitation then you are not thinking big enough. I’m a strong believer that great innovation comes from being clever and finding the opportunity in any situation.”

Carla said that the doors couldn’t be more open to start-us at the moment: “Larger companies are investing in in-house innovation labs and you can also see some great independent start-ups starting to kick off. Further to this investors are interested in this sector, not just from a financial prespective but simply because there is so much opportunity for growth.”

Carla also had four points for start-up entrepeneurs looking for success:

  1. Take time to understand your persona. Build your business around facilitating that identity.
  2. If you have a niche, do everything in your power to own it.
  3. You will need certain capital to find customers but ‘growth hack’ as much as possible.
  4. Making an awesome product will make retention much easier! 

Could your start-up win the 2016 trophy? What technology and innovation will prevail this year? 
Submit your company for the Start-up LaunchPad  by 29  August. Click here to find out more and to apply.

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