Rijeka Startup Gamio Seeking Experts After Attracting Investment

Lauren Simmonds

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As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, young entrepreneur Marko Matijevic decided to turn his passion for video games and gaming into a proper business. Last year, he launched the Hall of Game (HoG), the largest gaming arena in all of the Republic of Croatia, while simultaneously working on the development of the unique and innovative platform Gamio.GG, which is based on web3 technology.

Thanks to that platform, gamers should soon (as early as next year) start making money while playing. This play2earn concept is in complete contrast to the traditional gaming concept where players have to pay to play. Investors were quick to recognise Marko’s unique idea, and the Rijeka startup Gamio recently received an investment of five million kuna. How the Gamio.GG platform will function, what the money will be invested in, and when we can expect it on the market, was explained by founder Marko Matijevic.

How did the idea and then the work on the development of the Gamio.GG platform come about?

The idea was actually “born” through the Hall of Game (HoG) in a conversation with various brands we work with. Before the very opening of HoG, there was an idea of the ​​parallel development of an eSports platform, but after the initial few events and tournaments that we did for brands, we realised that, as much as we love eSports, a lot of platforms are already trying to break into that segment, and the number of players who participating in esports competitions is limited.

For this reason, we turned our attention to everyday players, who actually make up the vast majority of HoG visitors, and to a slightly more “casual” approach. We tested the initial ideas with the players themselves, pivoted them and finally found the perfect investor and partner – Hellens Rock.

In that process, I was lucky and met the core development team, without which such rapid progress wouldn’t have been possible. We’ve come up with many solutions together and I’m extremely glad that we’ve been participating in the development of the company together from the very beginning.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in developing the platform?

Quality personnel is the greatest issue I’ve come across yet. I’m not just talking about product development, but also operationally speaking. Gaming is interesting to everyone, but not everyone understands the business side of “playing games”. So, we’re also looking for experts from other industries who primarily have an interest in this type of product and understand the gaming culture.

How will the platform actually work? Which video games will all gamers be able to play and earn GG cryptocurrency?

Players simply select the tasks they want to complete while playing their game. This can be in the form of “Get the highest score in one single game” or “Assist 10 times in one hour”. The so-called “Ticket” currency is collected, which is used to enter exclusive tasks that then carry our GG cryptocurrency. In addition to all that, there are many options that players can use to increase their chances of winning bigger prizes or simply take a bigger risk for a bigger reward.

What kind of interest do you expect, especially considering that the crypto market isn’t doing well at the moment?

Our primary market is gamers, and only then crypto users. For investment reasons, we postponed the release of the cryptocurrency and devoted ourselves to product development. The interest of early testers was even greater than expected. We plan to launch GG during the next year, depending on the growth of the number of users and the state of the crypto market going forward. During this time, users can decide whether they want to exchange their GG tokens for rewards within our “Shop” system, wait until they can cash out on their cryptocurrency exchanges, or simply reinvest them within the platform itself.

You recently received a pre-seed investment for its development, i.e. initial investment in the development, in the amount of 660 thousand euros, i.e. five million kuna. What will that money be invested in?

It takes considerable time to develop a custom-made blockchain-based platform. Headlines about investments in web3 companies always look bombastic, but most of the investment goes to development itself and later to marketing. The investment is being used primarily for employment and product development, but also for the first permanent users. We also equipped some modern offices in Rijeka and a smaller regional office in Zagreb, which is soon expected to move to a more attractive location.

You received the investment from the Hellen’s Rock investment fund, which was founded by entrepreneur Sacha Dragic. How easy or difficult was it to secure the investment? How did you attract the investor?

Sacha is an extremely capable entrepreneur surrounded by experts like Stjepko and Andrea Cordas, who have immense experience in managing tech companies. Since we’re friends from a similar industry, it wasn’t difficult to have a similar view on the future of the company’s business. The whole process didn’t really last long because we all knew what numbers were important and what realistic goals to set in the coming period. As I already mentioned, an acquaintance from the same technology sector actually made it possible for us to speak a “similar language” and also made it possible for us to achieve cooperation much faster than it would have been through some more classic VC paths.

When should the platform be finished and be made available on the market?

The MVP is already ready and has been tested several times. We’re now dealing with all of the final preparations in order to start the closed phase of market entry and the beginning of marketing. In the beginning, we’re going to be targeting a few hundred gamers and will gradually increase the number of players on the platform. Finally, with the issuance of GG tokens to the cryptocurrency market, the platform will become available to everyone.

Which markets are you targeting, and which gamers from which countries?

We’re starting with Croatia’s more immediate region because through the Hall of Game, we’ve gained a very good insight into local trends, cooperation with various organisations, and we also want to give our players the opportunity to try the product first. After a short phase with Croatia and the region’s market, our goal is certainly America, but until that moment comes, we’re going to focus on markets such as Latin America and Turkey. The USA is a logical choice, but it’s also the most financially demanding, and we’ll start with it after we prove our profitability here on these other markets. Of course, then there’s the rest of “Tier1” in European countries like the UK, Germany, France…

Last year, you launched the Hall of Game, a gaming centre in Zagreb’s Z shopping centre, in which one million euros was invested. Are you satisfied with the level of attendance and your work there?

The first year was phenomenal. We’ve done a lot of events, both our own and partner’s. We put ourselves on the “gaming map” not only of this particular region but also of Europe with the recent Call of Duty tournaments.

Of course, collaborations with big brands only improved the perception of HOG. We also had problems and learned some things the hard way, but that’s why we are extremely confident in what we do. I think it can always be better and I hope this is just a fraction of what we want to achieve.

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