Casino VR wins 2015 Start-up Launchpad

Casino VR has been announced as the winner of the Start-up Launchpad today (Thursday) at the EiG 2015 event at Arena Berlin.

Presenting to a packed auditorium, CEO Marco Kobelt impressed the judges with his market-leading virtual reality casino play.

Kobelt said: “It was a great experience. We got so much great feedback, that was very helpful. The award goes to my team, who have worked very hard. We have to think about how we can improve our product day by day.”

The expert panel of judges, comprising Burlywood Capital Partner Mark Blandford, GamCrowd Chairman Ian Hogg, Partech Ventures Managing Director Jean-Marc Patouillaud, Revenue Engineers Founder and Managing Partner Fintan Costello, Found Fair Ventures Founder and CEO Burckhardt Bonello and Velo Partners Director Evan Hoff, as well as moderator Melissa Blau, Director of iGaming Capital, grilled the finalists with a series of questions.

“The quality of the submissions this year was far higher than before so all of the finalists are winners,” Blau said at the outset.

DupZapper Founder Pavel Titov was first up, explaining how his company fights online fraud by using state-of-the-art technology to flag up suspicious registrations.

“It’s a cost-effective solution that reduces the money paid out to fraudsters,” Titov said.

“In two years’ time we’re looking to have about 400 brands signed up, making about $70m (€61.8m) per year in customer savings.”

Titov was asked about whether he had underestimated his market, but he added that the technology is potentially scalable to other sectors.

Next up was Stratagem Technologies Founder and CEO Andreas Koukorinis. Stratagem is a financial technology company that focuses on cutting-edge research, analysis, trading and tools for the sports trading market.

“We have flexible technology that is scalable,” he said. “We mostly cover football and tennis at the moment, but we’re looking to expand into other sports next year, including fantasy sports.”

Koukorinis added that Stratagem provides market making as a service and also a “Bloomberg-like terminal for sports trading” that is targeted at sports traders and financial investors.

“We have just completed phase one, the soft launch of our sports trading analysis and execution platform StrataBet,” he added.

“Phase two is in process and we’re looking for a much wider launch. In phase three, we want to move into more sports.”

Scott Burton, the CEO of fantasy eSports website eSportsPools.com (ESP), then gave a polished pitch.

As attendees at EiG 2015 will be aware, eSports is a growing sector, and Burton explained how ESP is an “early mover in a huge space”.

He said: “This is a product that is built and ready to go. We’re ready to monetise and traction is undeniable.

“You have to be authentic in this space and we are a team of eSports fans. We embed streams for real-time participation in order to keep people on our site.

“We are the third largest eSports fantasy site and are very well connected. Consolidation is happening. We took $750,000 in our seed round earlier this year and we’re looking to raise $5m.”

The penultimate pitch came from Skillzzgaming CEO Eran Sharar.

Skillzzgaming is a new gaming platform that blends casual with real-money gaming.

“Since the iPhone was launched, most of us have become gamers. A new breed of gamer has emerged,” he said.

“We provide ‘next gen skill games’ that combine the success of popular skill games and the thrill of chance.

“We’re going to start generating revenues in 2016. We are self-funded and looking to raise $850,000, mostly for game development.”

In the final pitch, Casino VR CEO Marco Kobelt explained how his company has been established to bring the appeal of casino play into a virtual reality setting.

“It is not just about feeling that you are in a casino, but also interacting like you do in a casino,” he said, whilst demonstrating the product.

“We believe that poker is the ideal starting point in building up the casino as it is social. The demographics of poker players fit perfectly with the demographics of VR.

“We have first-mover advantage in the market and this has brought us to the forefront of the VR industry. We are aiming to launch the consumer version in March 2016.

“We believe the best strategy is to link up with established operators. As our product improves, the vision is to create a stunning virtual city, so people don’t have to fly to Las Vegas.”

Global Media Partners