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Start Ups To Get You Thinking

Start ups to get you thinking

Published: 22nd July 2014.

Last week I wrote about “Big Bear” aka Greg Roekens, techie superstar in the advertising business, who said it was possible to get us to choose to watch ads.

This week, along comes Nick Hatter, a 23-year-old Cambridge entrepreneur, who has just won a big prize in London for his start-up, which ads up to the same thinking. is addressing the problem that 50% of games are free-to-play but only 1.5 percent of players make in-app purchases. Meanwhile, UK mobile ad spend will reach £2 billion and the in-game ads industry is worth £1.1 billion.

Nick’s idea is to create a platform for self-service in-game adverts, enabling game publishers to integrate it and brands to run campaigns on it, such as offering power ups and discount coupons. In other words, brands pay for your in-game purchases when you interact with their ads. GiftGaming then runs on revenues from commissions.

“This is a seriously great idea and they have not even raised any money yet, but they will receive a Startup Alley table at TechCrunch Disrupt London,” said the organisers, who also ran the TechCrunch contest.

Nick Hatter, a Computer Science graduate, originally from Bristol, graduated from Southampton with a first and worked in Bath before coming to Cambridge.

“I’ve been developing games since I was 13,” he told me. “I used to work in internet security, quit my comfortable life bachelor pads and my £35,000 a year job after I came to Cambridge Startup Weekend last November and pitched my idea there. “Everyone loved it. Next thing I know, I have an email from Cambridge Judge Business School offering me a place on their Accelerate Cambridge programme – which helps ‘accelerate’ startups to market.

“I could’ve applied to other accelerators, but I had a really good time in Cambridge and met some really awesome people, some of whom are now my good friends. I also thought my quality of life would be better here with the better scenery (I do a lot of running), and lack of London Underground. So I chose to come here. “Accelerate Cambridge has really helped me learn all the essentials needed to be a successful entrepreneur, including how to raise finance, how to hire, writing business plans, how to pitch effectively, what to watch out for, etc.

“I had the idea originally as a birthday app where advertisers would pay to give you ‘gifts’ on your birthday which could be loyalty cards, coupons. Then I thought... what if advertisers could pay to give you powerups in games.

“And as an indie game developer myself (checkout Thundrclap on the App Store), I thought this made a lot of sense – only 1.5% of players make in-app purchases. Also, who hates video adverts or fixed banner ads? I certainly do.

“So I’ve been in Cambridge since the beginning of this year. I feel very much at home here... loving it, but in order to be a globally successful company, we will need to expand operations to other gaming markets: US, Russia, Asia - also in the US, it is easier to raise huge rounds of venture capital funding.

“I bet other Cambridge startups have that pain when they realise they have to leave Cambridge to expand. Of course, we may consider an HQ here if we had the funds (especially with great game companies like Jagex and Frontier down the road). However, most investors round here seem to like hi-tech, meditech and more tangible products. This may change over time.

“But in general, the US is less risk-averse when it comes to startups and large VC rounds. So we may consider applying to Y Combinator (a famous US accelerator). “There is also a new gaming startup accelerator from Sony which is being run by Creative England – another avenue for us to consider.

“We haven’t received ANY funding yet, but have now opened up our crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to the general public at 
The picture shows me (on the far left in grey suit) with Mike Butcher, editor-at-large at TechCrunch (on the right) from a dinner I had with TechCrunch after winning the TechCrunch London Meetup.”

Source: Cambridge News 


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