Published: 25 May 2018 at 09:00
On Thursday 24 May the REACTOR team hosted its Big Gamification Pitch event for SMEs and start-ups who are participating in the REACTOR project’s second annual Big Gamification Challenge.With ten pitches in total, the breadth of concepts on display was impressive. The format of the day saw ten participants spend the morning working with REACTOR’s mentors to refine their concepts, develop their business, financial and marketing plans, and to hone their presentations ahead of taking to the floor in the afternoon. When the time came to pitch their products to a panel of potential investors and business development experts, participants were well prepared for the five minute pitch, and to respond to two minutes of questioning from the panel.
1. Jackie and Scott Luland, mother and son team and founders of Autism Peterborough, which was created to fill the gaps in services available to autistic people in the Peterborough area. Their mission is to create a small specialist college environment with day provision for 16 to 19 year olds, and the pair would like to incorporate gamification into the environment as a way to support positive behaviours among service users. Jackie and Scott gave a confident pitch and the feedback was positive, with pointers given about the need to make the investor argument as well as the social argument for their concept.
2. Pantea Lotifan is the founder and director of Camrosh, a strategy consultancy with a technology and innovation focus. Pantea’s idea is to develop a game which can be used with clients to facilitate relationship building, collaboration, team creation, and system thinking. Pantea’s concept is in the early stages. Her pitch was engaging, and feedback highlighted the need for Pantea to spend time creating and using the game, and finalising the financial viability of the product.
3. Eric Thomson of Crisis Guardian pitched the CGX Crisis Management Training Platform, a new product for Crisis Guardian which is already being trialled by companies wishing to provide staff with personalised crisis management scenarios to tackle in real time. As Crisis Guardian moves to roll out the product to a wider user base, Eric received guidance on positioning the product and differentiating it from what competitors are doing.
4. Foweal Limited is a start-up company founded with the ambition of conducting research into areas that don’t receive mainstream attention, with the potential for broad and high-impact benefit for humanity. Jonathan Puddicombe represented Foweal and pitched a new project – Games for Jesus – that would see gamification used to engage young people with the Christian faith. The feedback Jonathan received identified the need to ascertain who the potential customer would be, in order to monetise the product – would the games be marketed to churches, to parents, or young people directly?
5. Diego Magrini pitched Integrated OPS Solutions Ltd’s software solutions for airlines, airports and operators of private jets in particular. The company’s aim is to automate repetitive tasks – such as booking a runway or air space – in order to reduce costs and human error. Diego explained that as the first provider of such solutions which is not tied to a particular airline, Integrated OPS stands to succeed as the first player in the market. The panellists again offered guidance in that both airports and airlines would need to buy in to the solution in order for the critical mass of services to be reached and the software to be effective.
6. Pitching a concept created by the REACTOR team and other project supporters at an earlier meet-up event, to allow attendees without a concept to benefit from the morning’s training and to experience pitching, Donald Forbes of Intelligent Mesh presented a concept to resolve Cambridge congestion – by implementing a smart city lift-sharing partnership between commuters and delivery vehicles into the city. Donald explained the team’s ideas about rebuilding the delivery vans to ensure they are cleaner, and creating software to facilitate the lift-sharing. As the concept is only in the ideas stage, the panellists’ fed back that the next step would be to develop a business plan to ascertain whether the concept would be financially and practically viable.
7. The OneApp enables quick and easy access to information whenever and wherever it may be required and, through incorporating gamification into the app, will endeavour to support and encourage positive behaviours in terms of compliance and safeguarding for a range of different organisations. The app can be tailored so that it suits each organisation’s bespoke requirements – in terms of content, reward structures, and branding – and can provide alerts to users when legislative updates are available or action needs to be taken in order to ensure safety and compliance, breaking through where email reminders tend to get lost. Michael Shuster spoke passionately about how the app is already being used by safeguarding leads at football clubs trying to navigate a lot of difficult but vital information for children’s protection. The feedback was positive and the panel advised Michael to consider revenue options in terms of subscriptions and fees.
8. Olu Orugboh founded Synergy Organisational Solutions in 2015 to focus on helping companies improve their customer care. Olu intends to incorporate gamification as a way of providing SMEs with opportunities to access affordable customer care on demand, and Olu presented her business plan and financial forecast to the panellists effectively. The feedback from the panel prompted discussions about the capacity of SMEs to pay for such services, and Olu explained that SMEs will be the primary target of the service and pricing will be established to suit the target market.
9. Lorraine Turner from YoYo Let’s Go Ltd spoke about the progress she has made with her app in the past few months, having been supported by REACTOR for the past year in developing her city guide app for the family. The YoYo Let’s Go app is already in use as a guide to Cambridge, and Lorraine is seeking investment in order to expand the app’s reach to more cities, including Oxford and Bristol, and even Barcelona and New York. The panel was impressed with the app’s success to date but posed important questions about monetisation, the cost of advertising to reach new users, and Lorraine’s claim to be the only guide available dedicated for families.
10. Movements, a training programme designed by Matthew Crang, has been developed to support users in mastering particular movements – from a golf swing to working with clay and anything in between. Being a karate enthusiast, Matthew played a video showing the technology at work, highlighting how actions can be slowed down, viewed from different angles and dissected for greater understanding. The panellists were impressed with how much work has gone into developing the software to date and the breadth of applications available. The advice they gave was to consider whether to market the product to individual users, or to organisations and teachers as a complementary tool.
The next stage of the Big Gamification Challenge will see participants present their concepts to members of the public at the REACTOR Showcase event, held at the Cambridge Junction on Tuesday 19 June 2018.