GAMURS pools resources with fellow startup Puntaa to take a bigger bite out of esports
GAMURS Group co-founder and CEO Riad Chikhani
Mon 30 October 2017 - 2:04 pmFeatured | Startup
Two Aussie startups have joined forces to satisfy growing demand within the increasingly lucrative competitive video gaming industry for a daily fantasy esports offering. As part of this undertaking, they are rolling out what they hope will become the universal cryptocurrency for esports enthusiasts.
Launched across Australia in late August, Skrilla is a wagering platform that enables users to assemble a fantasy esports team consisting of professional gamers, across a range of video games, and compete for a share in a prize pool. It represents a collaboration between two Australian startups – GAMURS Group, a leading esports multi-media network with offices in Sydney and Texas, and peer-to-peer social betting platform Puntaa, which operates out of Brisbane.
“Presently, there is a lot of uncertainty in the esports wagering space, particularly around the security of the users’ personal details and regulatory requirements,” Riad Chikhani, the CEO and co-founder of GAMURS Group told Dynamic Business. “Many platforms are not fully regulated and those that have gone under serve as a reminder of the need for regulatory compliance when seeking to capture major markets such as the US.
“Platforms have been caught out by accepting bets globally in circumstances where they didn’t hold a license, failing to perform anti-laundering checks and not having Know Your Customer (KYC) Procedures. Puntaa, which is led by CEO Nick Heaney, and GAMURS identified a gap in the market for a licensed, fully-regulated esports wagering platform and have developed a product suited for the worldwide audience. Both startups are excited by the prospect of bringing a new level of engagement to esports fans. Fans of traditional sports have had access to daily fantasy platforms for a while, and now we’re affording esports enthusiasts the same experience.”
Chikhani described Skrilla as a ‘natural progression’ for both startups, adding that the joint venture combines GAMURS’s global reach and esports expertise with Puntaa’s betting expertise, legal know-how and technology.
“Whether or not startups should collaborate boils down to fit,” he explained. “If the fit is there, then it makes perfect sense for startups to work together towards a common goal; however, if the partners are stepping on each other’s toes and they’re having to deviate from their core value proposition in order to develop a new product, this can spell doom, especially if either startup is still carving out its space in the market.
“Fortunately, GAMURS and Puntaa have a shared vision (i.e. to shape the future of gaming) and our areas of expertise are complementary. In fact, during the first negotiations around Skrilla, both startups spent considerable time understanding each other’s capabilities and identifying synergies, with a view to determining how the project will be executed.
“On the GAMURS side of the equation, our track record of producing quality esports content for our global readership will prove invaluable in the acquisition of customers for Skrilla. Further, GAMURS’ flagship publication, Dot Esports, has half its audience in the US, which will enable us to rapidly scale Skrilla. Due to our deep understanding of esports, GAMURS is taking care of branding, marketing and product look. Plus, we’re preparing to launch GAMURS’ Esports Database, which will enhance the experience for Skrilla users in terms of the decisions they make.
“Meanwhile, Puntaa’s technological expertise will enable us to quickly scale Skrilla and develop new contest modes, thus expanding the offering. Also, Puntaa is driving the technological process that will see Skrilla transform into a blockchain-powered esports wagering platform with its own cryptocurrency, known as Skrilla Token. This will enable users from all regulated regions to participate in global, rather than just local, pools. It will also mean users can transact in Skrilla Token, rather than fiat currencies. Additionally, there are plans for Skrilla Token to become GAMURS’ backbone currency, facilitating access to premium services across our suite of websites. Ultimately, we hope the Skrilla Token will become an all-encompassing esports currency that is recognised worldwide.”
Looking to the future, Chikhani said there are plans to launch Skrilla into the US within the next six weeks, before expanding into Europe, and to grow to have at least 150,000 users within its first year of operation.
“Ideally, around 20% of these users (30,000) will be regular users who will return consistently to the platform to enjoy daily fantasy contests,” he said. “Regarding our forthcoming cryptocurrency tokensale, ideally we would love to raise more than $1 million USD, which would significantly accelerate the scaling of the product. Following the tokensale, we’ll focus on integrating the Skrilla Token into the platform technology. Finally, over the long term, Skrilla’s aspiration is to expand its influence and bring new partners on board the platforms and implement our token on their networks.”