Categorized | Shoestring Startup — Combining Work and Play into a Promising Startup

Name of your company and URL? -- Combining Work and Play into a Promising Startup


Date started?

Official Launch: April 2010

What is your product or service?

Skilladdiction is a competitive casual gaming community that provides the social tournament platform for players to connect and compete for cash and prizes in fun and easy-to-learn games. We are a hybrid of a casual gaming portal, a social game, and a casino website because we have the reward of the social game, and players can win real cash and prizes playing these casual games, without any sort of gambling. Since our official launch in April 2010, we’ve hosted over 1 million tournaments!

Why did you start your company?: -- Combining Work and Play into a Promising Startup

SA Team

Both my partner and I are gamers ourselves. We love gaming and understand it from a gamers’ perspective. We played on our competitors websites for a little over a year, and saw an opportunity in a growing market to provide a better skill gaming experience, so we seized it and began looking for a developer almost immediately.

How was it financed?:

To get the product developed and launched online, it was entirely founder funded. Around the time of our official launch, though, we won first place in Syracuse University’s Panasci Business Plan Competition, which gave us $25,000. We also received an $8,000 grant from an Incubator in Syracuse that we participated in in Summer 2010.

Date officially launched?:

April 2010

What free online or offline tools do you use?:

Google Analytics, Hootsuite, the Hello Bar, Good Data, Ginza Metrics, inDinero

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or ? Provide exact URL of each:

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?:

We are still a pretty small team. Across full-time, part-time, and contractors, we have about eight people. The team will be growing soon because we are currently actively recruiting for a technical co-founder. Any programmer reading this post are encouraged to apply! 🙂

What is the best advice you never got?:

We received very little advice in the beginning, so most of the learning experiences we’ve had have been from all of our knowledge bumps. Of the mistakes and consequent knowledge bumps that I’ve had, I would say that the one that I wish I could have avoided entirely, and probably could have with some advice, has to do with how to effectively manage outsourced, over-seas freelance programmers. It can be a money-sucking endeavor if not managed properly.

What is the one thing that you did right?:

Launch as soon as possible with a minimum viable product. It’s very tempting to continue to build out and perfect your product before launch (and I’ve found that many Entrepreneurs are very product-oriented), but the value that you get from actual players’ feedback about what they want to be seeing on the website is tremendous. You can’t know what your customers want until you ask them. You can plan something to death, but the most important piece of the puzzle is getting a product live. So launching as soon as we possibly could was a highly beneficial decision to make, and typically the advice that I give to other entrepreneurs that are just starting out.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?:

Transition to the entrepreneur mindset was definitely one of the bigger challenges that I had to put some conscious effort towards. I was 20 when the business was just getting started, so all my work and prior academic and job experience had been bosses and teachers telling me what to do, and now I was making all of the decisions (alongside my partner) and making everything happen. If you don’t make the decision, it’s not going to be made. If you don’t do what needs to be done, it’s not going to get done. That sense of urgent responsibility is necessary for growing your own business.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

We did a lot of SEO work initially, because we saw that our main competitors had neglected that space. We were able to solidify ourselves high up in search engines for awesome keywords which continues to bring in lots of highly converting traffic. We have a new brand/design coming out soon, and we are planning a large-scale viral marketing push across Facebook and Twitter.

What would make your business more “Successful”?:

More customers 🙂

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?:

As many entrepreneurs feel, I definitely consider my business my ‘baby.’ It is in my plans to continue growing it to the full potential that I see (which is quite a lot of potential, or I wouldn’t be doing this!). However, considering the history in this industry, and how hot the gaming industry is right now, I’d say that an acquisition is not unlikely.

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be:

We’re expecting to break a six-figure revenue for 2011.


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