Boris Bergerot is Co-Founder and President at the recently launched Stakrn which regards itself as the first esports and gaming accelerator.
The company has established a three pronged approach, which includes an esports focused crowdfunding element, and we spoke to Boris about each of these.
ESI: Hi Boris, and thanks for talking to us. Can you tell us a little about your own background, the team at Stakrn and the thought process that went into its creation?
Boris: Hi Sam! Thanks for inviting me. Okay, let’s go.. a few words about me and Stakrn which , incidentally, is pronounced ‘Stack Earn’. I’m a French entrepreneur living in Montpellier, a Digital Marketing & eBusiness professor and also Co-founder & President at Stakrn. As a network engineer with a Master’s degree in digital strategies, I have extensive experience globally in the digital field.
Both my friend and associate of 15 years, Florent Mondolfo (co-founder & CEO), and I are both casual gamers and esports viewers. We decided a couple of years ago to create an innovative ecosystem dedicated to video games professionals.
After ample blood, sweat and tears with our ten strong team, we launched the world’s first esports and gaming accelerator at the beginning of October. Why Stakrn? Our mission is to help gaming and esports organisations to develop their projects; to help them grow both quickly and cleverly. As such we offer three distinct services : FundR (reward-based crowdfunding), HuB (B2B platform) and SmartR (labeling and sponsorship research).
ESI: Why the decision to include a crowdfunding segment (‘Fundr’) when so many such sites already exist? Is an esports focused one necessary? What type of projects are you anticipating?
Boris: It’s a very good question, because as you say there are already crowdfunding platforms offering a gaming segment.
Most of the time though these are global sites where you can fundraise for anything from to creating clothes for dogs to funding new tech gadgets and ideas. There’s no unique space dedicated to helping projects and businesses in esports. That’s where we come in. As a focused service for gaming fans and stakeholders. Stakrn is a brand, a specific and innovative ecosystem, and the FundR component is a response to the typical and common financial barriers we meet in the worlds of esports and gaming.
The types of projects targeted by Stakrn vary and can be anything from LAN party organising, financing prize pools, equipment, organising tournaments and events, cosplay and indie games studios.
We recently launched but have already helped to fundraise equipment for an esports organisation, we supported a startup for its esport mobile app and we have prepared many projects for the coming weeks too!
We only charge a 5% fee to the “stakers” (our community of contributors), which is a very good news for project owners who will receive a maximal part of the crowdfunding.
“Everyday I meet people interested in esports. This is because of its ‘buzzword’ status, but also the increasing media attention, the increasing prize pools, traditional sports clubs entering, publishers developing titles specifically for esports and the easy access via online streams and now TBS too.”
ESI: What does the ‘HuB’ offer endemic esports businesses?
Boris: The HuB is a Business-to-Business platform with concrete objectives to generate visibility for the organisations and to make connections and businesses for esports professionals around the world.
Available in French and English, the HuB will offer many services following its launch which is planned for a few weeks time. This service focuses on esports and gaming and will offer endemic esports businesses a ‘business identity card’, an efficient search engine to reach partners, a jobs board, the possibility to showcase news and press releases, and more.
Every member of the HuB (be they esports teams, associations, event organisers, suppliers, equipment manufacturers, media, barcraft, publishers and indie game studios, etc.) will be soon be able to choose a subscription plan (free or paid) to promote its activities.
ESI: Is one of the aims to be putting on business type conferences for the esports industry in the near future? How needed are these at this stage?
Boris: Everyday I meet people interested in esports. This is because of its ‘buzzword’ status, but also the increasing media attention, the increasing prize pools, traditional sports clubs entering, publishers developing titles specifically for esports and the easy access via online streams and now TBS too.
Three weeks ago I was a speaker at the Game Connection during the Paris Games Week. This was a good opportunity to talk about ‘How to attract sponsors in the esports industry’ and to meet new partners for Stakrn. Two weeks ago I organised and spoke at the conference ‘Esports: At the hearth of the digital revolution’ during DigiworldWeek . Many other events are planned for the coming months, from attendances in the dozens to five hundred plus. The audience comes from various fields too; there are students, business folk, esports teams, investors, brands and just the plain old curious!
What I think is that there’s a real potential for esports democratising. And above all, there is a real interest and demand from administrations (who see great potential for economic development), from brands looking for reach new marketing target demographics (‘geek’, younger, loyal) and for young gamers who’d like to become professionals.
Of course not all countries are moving at the same speed. It often depends on their localisations and cultures. APAC, North America and Europe don’t necessarily have the same investors, the same infrastructures and the same support from federations. The esports industry is less ready in Europe because of the societal culture. It’s our main market for conferences.
In the near future, Stakrn aims to play a leading role in promoting and organising conferences and specific events related to esports issues.
ESI: Can you talk us through ‘SmartR’ the sponsorship segment of Starkn? Why do you see yourselves as well placed to secure sponsorships for teams and/or players?
Boris: As an esports accelerator, Stakrn works on project development for B2C and B2B. This is why we also attach importance to the sponsorship segment. The situation is complex. Many esports teams (pro and amateur) are looking for income streams to finance their equipment, their travel, their wages…but potential sponsors are stretched!
Through our service called SmartR, we aim to help teams to write the best sponsorship presentation possible. Depending on the quality project of the team, we assign a label to certify the credibility. Then we directly send the sponsorship proposal to our pool of brands, or we contact some partners managing brands interested in esports opportunities.
We are in the process of helping some esports teams in Sweden, Denmark, the US, and France to find new sponsors. Personalised support, marketing and sponsorship expertise and an extensive network are, in our view, some of ingredients of our professional recipe.
All of the Stakrn team will be glad to help the readers of Esports Insider on their esports projects. We’re happy to chat online, meet for coffee or just play some games! Get in touch if you’re interested at [email protected].