South African startup Gaming Battle Ground (GBG) was one of only five gaming startups selected to pitch to investors at the recent EIG Expo Startup Launch Pad in Berlin, Germany, beating off competition from hundreds of other hopefuls.
An online platform for gamers in South Africa, GBG enables gamers to earn rewards for their skill by joining or creating tournaments in their individual or group capacities. It currently supports eight popular games, including Starcraft 2 and Dota2, for stakes-based matches and tournaments.
The startup, which was founded in 2014 and currently has a community of 20,000 gamers globally, was given the opportunity to deliver a seven-minute pitch to the gaming world’s top experts and investors at the EIG Expo Startup Launch Pad, and was the top e-sports contender in the competition.
“We’re very proud of the platform and how well it performed at EIG. It’s an important affirmation that we are on the right track and offering the market something it needs. We are very excited about the future of competitive e-sports in South Africa and we hope that platforms like GBG will take the local scene to the next level,” said founder Greg Hamilton Stevens.
Stevens spent more than a decade working in the gaming startup scene in the United States and recently returned to South Africa to focus on GBG having spent the last two years developing the platform with his Croatian business partner and a team of developers.
Gareth Woods, a professional Dota2 commentator and gaming expert, said the fact GBG was even invited to the launchpad was a significant achievement and validation.
“It tells the global community that the South African gaming and e-sports industries are highly innovative, competitive and investment-worthy,” he said.
“Gaming is big business and is supported by an estimated 1.7 billion gamers worldwide. And the exciting thing is that South African gaming startups are now amongst the most noteworthy new entrants into this market.”
Woods said GBG was well-positioned to capitalise on the growth of the gaming industry because it was giving local gamers unprecedented power to arrange their own professional tournaments, earning not only entry fees for the organisers but prize money for competitors.
“Previously big tournaments were arranged by big corporates, but now, the tournament scene is for gamers by gamers. That’s a significant incentive for local players to build up and professionalise the industry – and ultimately this shift in the industry will help to legitimise e-sports in South Africa and to make our local industry more globally competitive,” he said.