As the common refrain goes, data is the new oil. With data collection being an integral part of esports, the vast majority of business decisions made in the industry are driven by numbers.
To measure the validity of specific engagements, brands typically use data-based performance indicators that can ultimately help to establish long-lasting and sustainable partnerships.
Despite being around since 2017, it wasn’t until the end of 2020 that news stories concerning Shikenso Analytics started making headlines. Freaks4U Gaming, FATE Esports, BLAST, OG Esports, PGL and Mousesports — all of these brands announced partnerships with the analytics firm throughout the following year.
“We aim to become the market leader for sponsorship analytics in the gaming and esports ecosystem,” said Arwin Fallah Shirazi, CEO and Co-Founder of Shikenso Analytics, in an interview with Esports Insider.
Using a proprietary artificial intelligence, Shikenso Analytics helps its clients with evaluation and management of their sponsorships, investments and other marketing activities. By doing so, it aspires to create a more transparent ecosystem towards endemic and non-endemic brands looking to get into the space.
The company’s core offering constitutes an analysis of branded content or sponsorship assets on live streaming and social media platforms in order to quantify activations for customers and drive performance with reliable data.
Typical datasets include product placements, logo insertions, branded jerseys and promotional clips, among others. In addition to establishing the media value of each asset, customers can also use Shikenso’s controlling and reporting tools to receive data consulting when needed.
Partnership evaluations aside, in an industry sometimes accused of inflating figures to attract potential investors, high-quality and reliable data is simply a necessity.
The origin of Shikenso
It wasn’t the aforementioned courageous ambitions that prompted the recent rise of Shikenso. According to Fallah Shirazi, the firm’s growth happened rather organically: “At first, the company was sort of a side project to our day-to-day lives.
“We knew we wanted to do something in esports and went on to develop a hands-on esports event calendar for organisers and media networks which allowed implementation into their websites.”
However, the company’s path towards growth naturally included its fair share of challenges. “About three years ago, we were on the verge of abandoning the project,” he said. “We only had a halfway marketable product and we couldn’t sell it.
“As a startup in a young industry, with no backers, you have very little credibility. There’s not many people who can recommend you or vouch for you.”
Nevertheless, all it took for Shikenso to get off the ground was one initial spark: “Even though our service was used by clients like Dreamhack, we saw a bigger potential in AI-powered solutions.”
The team quickly identified the need for qualitative evaluation of sponsorships in the esports space and pushed to provide a service that carries out the analysis at the root of the action — the heart-piece of what Shikenso is today.
“In times like these, you learn what perseverance really is,” Fallah Shirazi said. “Not just chasing a dream, but doing everything in your power to make it come true.”
That includes admitting the fact that despite hard work, the product might not always fit the market. According to Fallah Shirazi, the crux in such cases is to move forward, focusing on new opportunities and continuing to drive product innovation.
At present, Shikenso Analytics is heading towards its goal of becoming the premium supplier of sponsorship data in the tournament segment of the esports industry. On its way up to this point, the company has gained plenty of valuable knowledge, potentially useful to esports-focused businesses way beyond those in data collection.
“Right from the start, we realised that the market is transforming very quickly and that one of the most important qualities for an esports company must be flexibility,” Fallah Shirazi shared.
Hand in hand with flexibility, Shikenso’s core values include striving for improvement, holistic approach and problem solving: “When you strive for something big, there is always room for improvement.
“Identifying and addressing problems, combined with finding target-oriented solutions to those problems are the key towards continuous improvement.”
He continued: “When it comes to recruiting, we’ve found that there’s something much more important than education — a passion for gaming and esports. Employees who are excited about their work get ignited by the opportunity they are given and go quickly above and beyond.”
“Last but not least, it is important for a young startup to strive for greatness and to know what its objective is,” he added. “Have a vision and dream big — the sky is the limit.”
Endorsing market diversity
From in-game evaluations and spectator statistics to performance indicators for training and preparation — the current market has it all. The ability to choose from a wide range of different technologies and approaches to data-driven solutions helps brands find the products that best fit their business strategy.
Indeed, in any given industry, market diversity is a positive. “Not only does it promote the continued growth of the market, it also supports its economic sustainability,” Fallah Shirazi pointed out.
“Moreover, data-driven solutions help with esports professionalisation and generate more transparency within the space.”
In support of the increasing market diversity, Shikenso Analytics intends to extend its technology and expand its portfolio of sponsor analysis products in 2022 to include concepts such as voice analysis or on-site analysis.
Rest assured, the company’s ambitions don’t stop at market diversity. “Through continuous product improvement and innovation, as well as the expansion of our portfolio, we aim to offer the best product on the market,” warned Fallah Shirazi.
Supported by: Shikenso Analytics