GiftGaming CEO Nick Hatter on pitching, bootstrapping & understanding startup investment

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Mobile gamers are drowning in ads and it’s starting to annoy them. The solution? GiftGaming. In this episode we’re joined by the founder and CEO, Nick Hatter.

 

NickHatterBreakingBiz

This is a great episode for any budding entrepreneurs out there because Nick is young, driven and his company plays in the mobile ad space, an area that many are trying to crack. Nick chats to us about GiftGaming, startup pitching and dealing with startup investors.

If you’re interested in mobile advertising, you may enjoy our interview with¬†TreSensa CEO Rob Grossberg.

For more interviews with startup founders, click here or for more interviews with startup investors, click here.

Full interview

Breaking Biz:

Can you tell us what your company GiftGaming does?

Nick Hatter:

GiftGaming is an in game advertising service that works in existing games and what it does is allows brands to give players virtual gifts which contain power ups and discount coupons. A good example is, say you’re playing a game, you see a gift icon you tap that gift icon and then you’re presented with a gift from a brand and it says ‘Brand X has given you a life’ and they might also be giving you a coupon. And that’s the basics of GiftGaming.

Breaking Biz:

From what I gather it’s quite a non invasive way of advertising on mobile, and probably the secret to success as most people don’t want to be bombarded by ads.

Nick Hatter:

Absolutely, and what’s happening at the moment is a lot of people, a lot of gamers and game publishers- they’re drowning in these ad solutions whether it’s intrusive banner ads, video ads, mobile reward solutions, there’s just so many different things out there and unfortunately a lot of them are intrusive.

Breaking Biz:

You recently won the Tech Crunch summer meetup, coming ahead of a lot of other startups. My question is, what makes a good pitch and how should a startup prepare for that kind of scenario?

Nick Hatter:

If you’re in a room with a rowdy audience, you need to be loud and you need to make sure everybody hears you. Don’t read off a script, make it organic, swear if you have to. Be passionate, let it all come out.

Breaking Biz:

Are you suggesting that people come up in a loud room and are actually a bit quiet and it’s just painful?

Nick Hatter:

One of the problems is that people just can’t actually hear you. What’s this guy saying? Did he say something about an app?

Breaking Biz:

You want to put up your hand and tell them but you don’t quite have the guts…

Nick Hatter:

Yeah exactly, and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the actual session so you just need to get up there, get that microphone and blast that message out, really raise your voice. The louder they are, the louder you need to be. That’s the first step. The second step is, don’t panic, don’t talk too quickly, try to remember that basics. It’s okay to be a bit organic a bit fluid, so talk about what your company does, the target market, how you make money, why it’s a good opportunity, what pain you’re solving. You just need to get the fundamentals in there without panicking, that’s one of the key elements. Speak with passion as well, really mean what you say.

Breaking Biz:

So you would rather go through the uncomfortable silence until you gather your thoughts , rather than be on edge and thinking desperately of something to say.

Nick Hatter:

I still get stage fright and get a little bit stressed when I do it. I think the best way to prepare for that kind of scenario is to practice loads. Before I did that Tech Crunch presentation I did another major pitch at the Technology Strategy board, the prize was ¬£25,000 funding from the government as well as getting Proctor and Gamble as a client and unfortunately we didn’t win but the key thing there was the practice I got preparing for a pitch and delivering it.

Breaking Biz:

At the moment you’ve decided against seeking investment for GiftGaming, what are the reasons for this decision?

Nick Hatter:

Well we sort of had our investment via the campaign on Seedrs, we did need a bit of seed capital to begin with to pay myself a salary and pay some legal costs, server costs. We’ve decided against a big round of funding to avoid giving too much of the company away. It’s much better to prove your business model works and then when you know it works, your valuation goes up because you’ve got clients and cash flow and then when you look for bigger money you don’t have to give as much away.

Breaking Biz:

Let’s say there are startup founders looking for big money from private investors. What are the questions they need to ask themselves first?

Nick Hatter:

I think the question they ask is, what are you actually going to spend the money on, do you know what your cash burn rate is? Don’t just say we need a million pounds funding- actually break down your costs. You don’t know the cash burn rate until you’ve actually gone into business. You can’t just say you’re going to spend ¬£20,000 on marketing, you need to break that down even further.

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