Manchester start-up BetGame to receive GBP 150,000
William Hill Labs' "accelerator" initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting start-ups with innovative technological ideas has named its first winner, a Manchester start-up branded BetGame which was founded by Doug Ward and Dave Carter.
Betgame is leveraging the growing popularity of eSports by bridging the gap between mainstream console gaming and casual betting, with William Hill as its powerful partner.
William Hill will invest GBP 150,000 in the venture, which plans a launch in March in time for Fifa 2016 before following up with other titles.
BetGame had to best some impressive rivals in the competition, including Asylum Labs (creators of the Wild Party Bingo app), Streetlike (IoT rewards through digital signage), Skillzzgaming (combining gambling games with skill) and Winkapp (creating URLs that bridge offline and online media).
Skillzzgaming was Betgame's closest rival and was awarded a Highly Commended accolade by the independent judges appointed by William Hill Labs to assess and find a winner for the inaugural accelerator ward.
But it was BetGame that took the honours, with the judges saying they were impressed by the four-month concept to product achievement of Ward and Carter, and noting that the beta testing phase had shown the concept to be effective and popular, with cross-platform capabilities enabling its integration with media and social channels, including TwitchTV and Facebook.
Crispin Nieboer, the newly appointed interim head of online operations at William Hill, commented that the accelerator initiative had been very rewarding and a great opportunity to work with engaged and innovative start-ups.
"With such initiatives we really wanted to actively seek out innovation and help bring those ideas to commercial fruition, rather than waiting for this technology to appear a few years down the line," Nieboer said. "BetGame is a worthy winner of our first accelerator programme, providing a unique opportunity to disrupt the booming eSports market, and we are looking forward to working together."
Speaking for BetGame, Ward said:
"Our product is looking to heighten gaming's competitive element but with a fun and simple way to prove yourself against your friends. It was fantastic that the William Hill team fully embraced this vision and helped develop our ideas over the course of the accelerator programme. During this time the quality of support from our mentors has been outstanding, enabling us to speed up our product development significantly so that we are now in a position for a full commercial roll out of our platform."
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