Transcript

Jordan  0:08  

Yo, what's up, everybody? Welcome to startup survivor. We're stoked to have you with us here today. So the rules are super simple. A founder and a VC get paired up instead of a game of fortnight. The founder gets the pitch the VC their idea, and the pitch doesn't live as long as the demo stays alive inside the game of fortnight. Let's hop to it.

Anthony Geranio  0:26  

So my name is Anthony Geronimo. I'm the founder and CEO of 1v1me. 1v1me is the best way to make money and trained to become an Esports Pro. Prior to this, I've worn multiple hats doing product management and a large background in engineering, mainly focusing on iOS. I'm 26 years old and I'm based in New York City.

Vohara Gunaratna  0:46  

Anthony Vohara Gunarantna advisor at Brickhouse ventures, we're an early stage VC frirm looking at investments in the gaming, media, and sports sector prior to that, working as a VP of sales at an online gift card company and based in Vancouver, Canada

Anthony Geranio  1:13  

What do you guys want? Where do you want to go?

Vohara Gunaratna  1:15  

I mean, I'm easygoing you can pick.

Anthony Geranio  1:18  

Let's do

Yeah, it sounds like a good spot.

I mean, most of my map most of my map is question marked. Where is that?

Vohara Gunaratna  1:32  

The orchard

It's actually I actually like landed here a lot. Last season the season before so this is a good spot.

Anthony Geranio  1:41  

Ah, nah we're gonna die immediately.

I'll go first house.

Vohara Gunaratna  1:47  

Okay, I'll do the one in the back

Anthony Geranio  2:03  

Doesn't look like anyone's landing hear there's people landing behind us.

Vohara Gunaratna  2:08  

Got friends here, full squad there.

Anthony Geranio  2:13  

dope.

All right, you good?

Vohara Gunaratna  2:20  

I'm good. I'm good. Yes. Tell me about what have you I feel like it's pretty cool that we're able to talk through this

Anthony Geranio  2:27  

hundred percent

Vohara Gunaratna  2:28  

while we're playing. So,

Unknown Speaker  2:30  

and this is this is kind of the way I've been trying to do pitches is actually like playing a game and talking to people because I feel like it's the best way for me to kind of express the concept and also, gaming has been this kind of niche where like, I'm looking for specific people like strategic investment, not necessarily just raising money from anyone but it's been interesting because a lot of investors obviously don't focus on eSports I guess your background is pretty specific into that and entertainment media but from what I pretty much run into is either people are like, actively looking at eSports, but don't know much about the market or it's just like a booming industry that they've already been focusing on for quite some time. So a lot of a lot of the people I've been talking to obviously, like don't play games because they don't have the time. So it's pretty interesting starting this company. But yeah, 1v1 is basically right now just an app for you to play wagered matches against someone else in Call of Duty. So say I wanted to play someone in 1v1 in a fortnight box fight, you come on our app, you set a wager amount for like $10. And then someone on the opposite end accepts it in our community, all of the payments and everything else happens inside of our app. So there's full trust and all of our matches are also streamed on to twitch. So there's a direct integration and like, trust component there where everything's recorded somewhere to this. That way we can go back in case there's any issues with like cheating or scamming or anything like that. So that's basically our MVP, but our long term vision is like building this training ground and highly competitive gamers who obviously like want to become a pro. And the best way we do that is by getting competitive people put that whole like dollar amount component to it. Because I think there's something to be said about people that are willing to play for money, probably highly skilled amateurs are probably doing that. So we have this competitive funnel people and then later down the road, we can do cool things with them, like team up with teams and sponsorships for promotion purposes. Or like just do other things down the road, like being able to help gamers get funded. Because right now the only way really to make money in eSports is either being on a pro gaming team or being a content creator, which as you know, is like super difficult. And I think there's an interesting correlation with the best content creator isn't necessarily the highest skilled gamer. So it's kind of like an interesting niche we're going after where we really want to focus on getting amateur gamers to be able to Make money so that whole passion economy feel, but then also create this other like sort of I like to equate it to like boxing or like UFC kind of create this boxing or UFC component to eSports which I don't necessarily think exists right now, at least not in the way we're thinking about doing it on the content side but I think we start with one v ones and then work up from there.

Vohara Gunaratna  5:23  

That's interesting. A few levels because like I think a lot of companies are trying to like they want to enter the space but they don't know how I like one v one is a very specific thing right? Like I follow a bit of the fortnight community and like boxlight wagers like the guy and like unknown and cliques and those guys like yeah, they're you know, you can you get some pretty good wagers and so it's a good you guys have an integration to twitch and then also can get on like, to the team level because like, I think at some point like, you're gonna run into, well, like, I can just do this myself. Right. So yeah, I guess maybe that's a question is like if you're pitching me as a team, what's compelling about what 1v1 that like, I wouldn't have to, to to go...

Anthony Geranio  6:10  

oh there's people coming btw

Vohara Gunaratna  6:12  

Okay, come back.

Anthony Geranio  6:17  

You see him? Yeah, no,

Vohara Gunaratna  6:19  

no, no, I was I was losing the back here. I'll come back.

Anthony Geranio  6:24  

All right. I got one.

Yeah, it's a great question and something we've been thinking a lot about, obviously. So the first thing I've been getting a lot is like, okay, like, why would I just use your platform? And not just that no, my friend. So that's obviously like a huge thing. But I think my answer to that is mostly this isn't really for people that are just playing against their friends, right? This is more or less for people that want to play against the competitive community that exists outside of their friends because obviously, when you go to a LAN tournament, you're not really or everything's online now because of COVID. But you're not really just playing against obviously, your friends. You're playing against more like skilled people and stuff like that. We got to go by the way, because the storm. And then the second question about the teams and sponsorships and that whole promotion. So right now how teams recruit is either a you become a really popular streamer and someone like Faze or another gaming team picks you up just for promotion purposes, not necessarily because you're the highest skilled and you won't be on their pro team if that's the case. And then the other way they find you is maybe by winning a tournament very randomly. So you saw that with like, the 14 year old who won like the fortnight World Cup and stuff like that, like just out of nowhere just came up. But the way we're thinking about it is like, besides those recruiting tactics, teams get really lucky finding like the best talent and also it's kind of like the way I equate it to is like, if Red Bull could have found ninja before he was super famous, would they have not paid him like 10s of millions of dollars for the sponsorship opportunity? I think that answer is yes. And I think the way you do that is with really deep analytics. So once we have a community of players that are playing, we can start giving analytics back to teams and sponsors, not necessarily just because of their skill in a game, but because of their twitch following how analytics are working there as far as like, how many more viewers they're getting, or how popular they're getting on Instagram. So it's more than just their game is still at that point. It's about providing them like early entry points of opportunity to like understand where these players are, where they're from, how often they're playing, how much they're already winning, because at the end of the day, a team wants their return on investment, right. And I think there's more to be said about the pro scene that doesn't exist right now. Like, you don't assume someone's not a professional painter just because they're not Picasso, right. So I think there's something that we're trying to change in the way people view a pro eSports player. It's not necessarily about like becoming a pro and being on a pro team. It's more or less about, can you make a living? And for the US, that's obviously like, $40,000 a year, right? But can you make a living different, using different monetization strategies that we've might put into our application and become that like eSports Pro, which to us is just about making a living doing it. Right? So it's, it's a little bit of a different way and how we work with teams and sponsors and even develop our own pro team in the future because I think that's the best bet, obviously. But could be pretty interesting just on if you look at it from like data analytics and just pure like statistics point of view, which Real Sports operate that way, and I don't think it exists for eSports right now. Like you don't just recruit a basketball player based off their followings on Instagram, right? There's a lot more that goes into it.

Vohara Gunaratna  9:39  

Yeah, interesting. Like in the sense of like, with a lot of like, content creators like I will wonder like, on a title, like fortnight, which has like maybe a more developed comp scene, it's like you're not as worried about the content creation right? so that it's that it's like how how are you helping someone who is decent, like how do you help them like improve? Right? Like maybe it's maybe that analysis event showing of like, Hey, you know what, you know, I started on 1v1 and yeah, you know, I ended up, you know, why went from 500 to top 20 or something like that, like maybe maybe that's it.

Unknown Speaker  10:21  

Yep. And I think it's like a lot about what we're seeing in this space, right. It's like a lot of them and there's services like you've seen it out there to like play wagered matches. And I think there's something to be said about our twitch integration, because right now, I can't go on Twitch and just say, Hey, who are the competitive people playing for money? And I think you and I both know, if you're a huge sports fan, like people just want to watch the Super Bowl because they probably have money on it. At the end of the day, and being able to watch your favorite streamer play for money or even just a normal person play for 500 bucks might be a really interesting matchup to watch. Right? So I think there's a whole community aspect component that we're trying to build which is how I equated to like the UFC and boxing. Let's go down here by the way, I want to get this high ground all the way north or southeast?

Vohara Gunaratna  11:03  

There's the guys fighting there. There's guys to our right

Anthony Geranio  11:08  

Yeah, so, uh, yeah, I think there's there's something to be said about that. But yeah, the whole point is like, if I come on 1v1me can I find the best people to play against? How we do that really well as with obviously a skill based matchmaking algorithm, it's not about trying to get you to lose your money. I mean, we can become a successful business doing that just creating like a gambling addiction for people. But that's not a part of our vision. How we accomplish the vision is let's say you lose three times in a row, we have a direct integration with like a coaching platform or make a coaching platform ourselves, where we can get you a coach to like help you get better at the game, or we're only going to match you with people who are new to the platform who are doing as poorly as you or we're going to find more ways for you to play cheaper games. So you're spending like 50 cents as opposed to $1 a match. So it's more or less about what we can do to make you better at the end of the day. And I think that's how the longtail success we're thinking about working. Obviously, I think there's a world where only the top 5-10 percent of people maybe make the most money on the platform. And we think that's okay, as long as people are improving, and there's an economy for the people that are getting better. So it's not necessarily about coming on our platform and like getting rich. It's about like improving in skill and then creating different ways for you to make money on the monetization side besides just like wagered matches. So what we're thinking of, instead of like a tournament for like a 1v1, we think tournaments are slow, very on organized and at scale. They suck, right? How can I get someone? How can I get the best people to come on at like a certain time of the day when they might have like a birthday party or something else going on? There's a lot of like commitments you have to like, move around just to like enter a tournament. But if we do a bounty where it's like, hey, all you have to do is play on 1v1me and you have access to like a grand prize for like 200 bucks. The person that wins the most dollar matches for the week gets gets it up for grabs, you could grind at your leisure. So it's not necessarily like something where you need to like enter a tournament and get lucky to like win the whole thing doing. So that's that's kind of the way we're thinking about other monetization tracks as well.

Vohara Gunaratna  13:17  

So how does it work from like, so the wager takes place on the platform? Are you taking a percentage of that? Or like how you guys making money?

Anthony Geranio  13:26  

Yeah, so we take 10% of every wager that comes on the platform. I think there's a world where we give a lot back to the community as well, depending on what the integration is, like we played around with like, a bounty, which is like for every match that happens on the platform will give away a bounty collected from all the fees we collect. And I think there's just something to be said about like doing that for community purposes and just betting on the fact that like, they're gonna tell all their friends because if you do a bounty that's based off like the most matches played, they might ask everyone else that they know to like, sign up. So I think there's a lot of cool things we can do there. But yeah, at a high level from, like the strategic like company monetization point of view, we take 10% of every wager that happens on the platform.

Vohara Gunaratna  14:12  

And is that including credit card fees or not?

Anthony Geranio  14:15  

That's including credit card fees. So that's a great question, we have to pay two and a half percent to stripe, which is our payment processor. And that's basically our situation right now. But I think there's a world where we can not charge more but make money in in other ways.

Vohara Gunaratna  14:34  

Yeah, so like, I'm just curious, like, cuz, you know, we spent a lot of time like looking at, like different companies versus specifically like in the esports space. And like, one of the things that like, I'm just curious, like, asking entrepreneurs is, you know, in a way you're competing with someone, like a twitch even like indirectly, right, so yeah. what's the what's the I guess the stickiness of someone who's on your platform instead of like you know they add them a discord and now they're doing kind of like the their wages like outside of that you know they don't have to use your platform like why would someone like why would two players play on your platform but not just kind of bypass you right like the the example I use is like sometimes you can reach out to people on like Airbnb or like if you're using like a like you you booked what someone wants on Airbnb and then you...

Anthony Geranio  15:31  

Just contactthem on the side next.

Vohara Gunaratna  15:32  

Exactly.

Anthony Geranio  15:33  

Yep. So I think so I think there's there's a lot of different things to unpack there. I think the main thing is like, once we build up this community of reputation, and we have different things like badges leaderboards, and we have that sort of accountability component for like a reputation where it's like, Hey, this is your 1v1me profile. This is what you're going to use to show off that you're the best. And if you think you're the best you need to prove it here, not necessarily anywhere else. That's kind of we're going after. And sure, there's probably going to be people that are going to like, want to play wagers and get contact information on the side. And we'll do everything we can to like obviously stop that and a lot of different ways. But I think at the end of the day, if we build up the components, there's just going to be more money to be made on the platform if you go directly through us, right. So you're not going to get access to the bounties, you're not going to get access to like different things that are like based off different reputation in the community to be a part of. So I think there's a lot to be said about just keeping it in this space. And I think there's a lot of reasons why people wouldn't want to go outside of the platform because we're a mobile app, right. So I think we can do a lot of things that these websites can't do. Like send push notifications for when you go live feature you and the different feeds on the app, like all of that sort of things that a lot of these other sites because they're literally websites can't do. And a lot of other things we're looking at is actually mobile gaming, not even console gaming. We think that's a really big opportunity for us.

Vohara Gunaratna  17:00  

Are we in a fight here?

Anthony Geranio  17:01  

Yeah, there's a kid below us. I don't know where yet

I'm editing oak right here.

Vohara Gunaratna  17:13  

Okay comin

Anthony Geranio  17:14  

Downed him

there's another one

Vohara Gunaratna  17:41  

ah I got 'naded

Anthony Geranio  17:44  

try to just box up

Jordans down

Vohara Gunaratna  17:49  

Healing

Anthony Geranio  18:17  

you have a 'nade?

Vohara Gunaratna  18:19  

I don't, no.

Anthony Geranio  18:26  

Yo, he's down here.

Vohara Gunaratna  18:28  

Guy the mountain he's beacon

Anthony Geranio  18:30  

sniper or what?

Killed two, two left.

Vohara Gunaratna  18:37  

Yeah, they're they're back here. They're they're on this tree.

Anthony Geranio  18:40  

Can you mark them?

Vohara Gunaratna  18:41  

Yeah

Anthony Geranio  18:43  

I see him

Vohara Gunaratna  18:46  

Tagged him tagged him. No shield no shield

Anthony Geranio  18:54  

pushing

Unknown Speaker  18:59  

All right he wants to fight. Oh, he's got one of those. Yo, just stay in that high ground.

Vohara Gunaratna  19:24  

Ay, ay might be a two V 1

Anthony Geranio  19:27  

Yeah, I think it is cuz it says the three right?

You play on PC?

Vohara Gunaratna  19:33  

No PlayStation

Anthony Geranio  19:34  

me too.

Vohara Gunaratna  19:39  

We have zone

where's this other guy?

Anthony Geranio  19:48  

Let me see if there's something down here. I just want to pop him.

Let me see if I can...

Vohara Gunaratna  20:12  

you know, I bet you the other guys just below us in our structure.

Anthony Geranio  20:17  

I checked

Vohara Gunaratna  20:18  

Oh really.

Anthony Geranio  20:20  

Yeah, he might be though.

I'll check the basement.

Vohara Gunaratna  20:35  

Crazy. We've had no mobility either.

Anthony Geranio  20:38  

Yep.

Vohara Gunaratna  20:41  

He's there?

Anthony Geranio  20:42  

Now he's not here.

Vohara Gunaratna  20:46  

I'm on the same level. Do you think we rotate to the other side right?

Anthony Geranio  20:50  

Is he in the box? Should we fight it?

Vohara Gunaratna  20:55  

down there?

Anthony Geranio  21:02  

No I can't find him

Vohara Gunaratna  21:05  

such a weird game.

Anthony Geranio  21:14  

He's not all of us. You see him? Are they by the trees? Nope.

Vohara Gunaratna  21:24  

they might be low to the right?

Anthony Geranio  21:27  

nope! oh I see him.

Vohara Gunaratna  21:30  

Where?

Anthony Geranio  21:34  

one kid down low

he's right below you

Vohara Gunaratna  21:42  

nice

Anthony Geranio  21:43  

Aight good stuff

that was kind of wack though at the end

Vohara Gunaratna  21:48  

I don't know where the other guy went

Anthony Geranio  21:53  

awesome.

Jordan  21:53  

Got the win the pitch one. Well Anthony, what are your thoughts?

Anthony Geranio  21:58  

I was really awesome I enjoyed talking and the game went even better first people to win so that's always exciting to

Jordan  22:06  

Yeah. Three on startup survivor first win on the show. That's pretty awesome.

Anthony Geranio  22:12  

Yeah, definitely.

Jordan  22:13  

Mr. Vohara, thoughts on how it went?

Vohara Gunaratna  22:18  

Thanks Anthony for the hard carry and we joked about it but you know I felt like I had a really good teammate. I thought the pitch was awesome it was you know longer we lasted I was really able to dive deep into some questions and Jordan Hunter when's our prizes coming? Like what do we get here what's our swag?

Jordan  22:39  

Prizes soon come we will. We will figure that out on our own maybe some Yac Merch

Vohara Gunaratna  22:45  

I'm just bugging you guys. Thanks for putting this on. This was awesome.

Anthony Geranio  22:48  

Yeah.

Jordan  22:49

All right, everybody. And that concludes this week's episode of startup survivor. Thank you so much for hanging out with us and we will see you all next episode.