Sydney-based eSports influencer academy startup GGWP Academy is on its way to participate in Berlin’s leAD sports-focused accelerator, securing a €25,000 ($40,185) initial investment in the process.
Speaking to StartupSmart, founder Jacqueline Garrett explains GGWP (which stands for Good Game Well Played) is designed to help educate the “influencers of the future” in the eSports space.
Along with a team of experts and advisors, Garrett has created a program of online classes to help aspiring eSports gaming influencers brand themselves and build up an audience.
It also focuses on educating them about online and in-game safety, and gamer health — both physical and mental.
Garrett says she has been working with Headspace to identify some of the issues around gamer mental health, and with the World Health Organisation on issues around gamer addiction.
“We’re working on ways to make sure it’s the right way — that kids can get into gaming and do it healthily,” she says.
According to Garrett, there’s a huge market here; a report from Newzoo estimates the global eSports audience will reach 380 million this year.
A lot of people are trying to reach this market through content creation, but “only the top 1% are making any money”, she says.
“The rest are people that don’t know what they’re doing.”
However, Garrett’s real passion for the space comes from “parenting a child who is very heavily involved in gaming”.
Her 10-year-old son is Australia’s youngest eSports athlete, she says, streaming weekly and competing at a global level in video games.
“It’s definitely become a big family thing for us,” she says.
Garrett says being accepted into the leAD accelerator is “a huge deal” for GGWP. Out of more than 400 applicants, the program has only accepted nine startups, but it’s also an accelerator usually focused on ‘traditional’ sports.
“For an eSport to be involved in a traditional sports accelerator is a massive deal,” Garrett says, and it’s a sign of some “recognition from the wider industry”.
And Berlin in one of the biggest eSports hubs in the world, so this particular accelerator “brings me a lot closer to some of the larger investors in the industry”, she says.
“There are other accelerators that have larger initial seed investment. I chose this one because they have such a strategic network in the eSports area already,” says Garrett.
Although she is “really looking forward to the personal guidance” that comes with the program, Garrett is also looking for an investment in the not-too-distant future.
And, within the next two years or so, she intends to be the “first port of call for any budding eSports athlete or content creator, globally”, providing a kind of training ground for influencers in this space.
“I could see the market size and the potential growth,” Garrett says.
“The newness of it all is what makes it so exciting.”