Investors Information

Overview

PlayPals is a mobile app solution for people who want to connect and play board games with local people in their immediate area (Chess, Backgammon, Settlers of Catan, Risk, Monopoly, etc).

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The 'Board Games' market which includes all manner of Board Games, Card Games, Dice Games, Role-Playing Games, Tile Based Games, Miniature Wargames and other game types, is a multi-billion dollars worldwide market, expected to grow to $8.12 billion in the US and Canada by 2021.

There are hundreds of millions of board-gamers in the world, many of which own dozens of different games, and they are looking for ways to connect with likeminded individuals in their area around a board game, either at home, at work, or in a local bar or café.

The first version of the app has already been developed, published, successfully tested, and getting requests from people all over North-America and Europe that we launch it in their city next.

PlayPals core team includes two experienced, technology driven entrepreneurs who founded and worked on a variety of online platforms and companies. With your help, the team is now ready to address the massive real-world games market opportunity.

The Disconnected Age

According to numerous expert studies and surveys performed in recent years, the social-disconnect in our online-oversaturated culture is quickly becoming a modern-day epidemic.

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The General Social Survey by the National Science Foundation found that 86% of millennials are feeling socially disconnected, the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since the 80’s, and almost a quarter of those surveyed stated that the number of people they can trust or confide in is “Zero”.

The Internet is considered to be the main culprit. In our digital age where everyone is connected to hundreds of “online friends”, but nobody is connecting in the real world -- people attempt to substitute real relationships with online relationships, but these connections tend to be superficial and ultimately dissatisfying.

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Vision / Mission

Our Vision is to help cure this critical social problem, by connecting people together around all the fun social activities that are already part of our culture — recreational activities such as playing board games, sports or music together — and leveraging those real-world activities to connect people with other local, like-minded people who may become friends — people like their next door neighbors and work colleagues.

In order to break the modern-day epidemic of social disconnect, we chose the thriving Board Games vertical as our entry point.

Our goal is to provide the market with the first realtime database of game sessions and player demographics

Our Mission is to be the first real-world games platform of its kind, and the best online-to-offline service in the market. Our objective is to enable anyone to have a free and simple way to meet local people in a playful environment for a few hours.

Once we gain the required exposure in the Board Games community, we intend to expand our activities to other verticals.

 

So, whether it’s getting people together by playing board games in someone’s livingroom, by playing frisbee in the local park, or by playing some music together in the local community center — our Vision is clear and our Mission is set before us.

Why Board Games and Why Now?

From family oriented games and a hobby powered by basement-dwelling geeks, board games are becoming the next trend in mainstream culture, and a worldwide market of $9.6 billion in 2016.

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This new trend is also evident on Kickstarter, where the most invested type of projects are board-games, and where hundreds of new games are coming out every year.

 

In addition, there are hundreds of new blogs, podcasts and Youtube channels dedicated to board game reviews, online groups for local board-gamers in countless cities across the globe, and thousands of game stores, bars and cafés in major cities worldwide.

http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/board-games-are-making-a-comeback/

 

http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/welcome-to-the-golden-age-of-board-games

The Problem

For the millions of board-gamers in the world, there is still no easy way to discover, join or host a friendly local game for a few people.

Facebook events, Meetup, WhatsApp, Twitch and other web & mobile services currently been used to join and enjoy these game events, are too big and general to provide the results board-gamers are looking for.

 

The Solution

A dedicated platform where board-gamers across the globe can:

  • Connect with local people in their area for a playful get-together.
  • Discover and Join board games, card games, dice games, role-playing, etc.
  • Create and Host their own game event.
  • Share their game-events experiences with others.

 

The Technology

PlayPals is an Android and iOS app, based on React-Native and Firebase.

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The React-Native environment allowed us to save dev cost and time, to publish on Android and iOS simultaneously, while also presenting a great option to continue and build the next mobile versions, as well as the future web one.

We used the Firebase cloud services as it provided a simple and cost-effective solution for PlayPals’ current data, authentication, image hosting and in-app communications needs. Depending on our next stage of activity levels, users features, security needs and back-office requirements, we will re-evaluate our continued reliance on the Firebase service.

How many players are there?

The Problem

For the millions of board-gamers in the world, there is still no easy way to discover, join or host a friendly local game for a few people.

Facebook events, Meetup, WhatsApp, Twitch and other web & mobile services currently been used to join and enjoy these game events, are too big and general to provide the results board-gamers are looking for.

The Solution

A dedicated platform where board-gamers across the globe can:

  • Connect with local people in their area for a playful get-together.
  • Discover and Join board games, card games, dice games, role-playing, etc.
  • Create and Host their own game event.
  • Share their game-events experiences with others.

The Technology

PlayPals is an Android and iOS app, based on React-Native and Firebase.

Read More

The React-Native environment allowed us to save dev cost and time, to publish on Android and iOS simultaneously, while also presenting a great option to continue and build the next mobile versions, as well as the future web one.

We used the Firebase cloud services as it provided a simple and cost-effective solution for PlayPals’ current data, authentication, image hosting and in-app communications needs. Depending on our next stage of activity levels, users features, security needs and back-office requirements, we will re-evaluate our continued reliance on the Firebase service.

How many players are there?

Market Opportunities

The social value that board games provide, can be beneficial for individuals, as well as for professionals and businesses, each representing a market opportunity by itself.

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The market opportunity for individuals is big enough, as there is already a growing market with hundreds of millions of active board-gamers, hundreds of millions of casual board-gamers, and hundreds of millions of video gamers who are also looking to play, connect and compete with other local players.

The market opportunity for helping professionals and companies by playing games is also a substantial one, as there are thousands of medium to large companies in the world that need to connect their employees in a fun social context of teamwork, creative conflict, strategy, tactics, financials, resource management, etc.

Similarly, there are hundreds of millions of professionals who are naturally trying to connect with others in their company, or around their city’s business/downtown areas, and hope to do sot in a fun social context as well.

A few companies PlayPals can help right now with their social and community needs are:

  • WeWork: Need to connect the people in their work spaces
  • NextDoor: Need to connect neighbors
  • AirBnB Need to connect guests to local community

Building upon the market partnerships and opportunities listed above, we will be able to provide & profit from all the data, advertising, lead generation and other needs of global game publishers, advertisers, and the thousands of local game stores, bars and cafés.

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The Product and Market Approval

We published PlayPals first version in the app stores in June and tested it in Vancouver, Canada a few weeks later – a process which required us to reach out to thousands of local board gamers through extensive online advertising, countless chats, events and meetups.

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We also made sure to personally meet with most of the game store owners in Vancouver and talk with a few game publishers as well, as we needed to understand the business requirements from the retail and publishing sides of this market better.

During the 3 weeks test we did in Vancouver, we grew by 400% from 5 daily game choices in the first week, to over 20 by the end of the third week. We also passed the 1000 downloads mark, got hundreds of active users in both the Android and iOS systems, and received lots of positive comments from local players and game-store owners.

And, we even got requests from people all over North-America and Europe that we launch their city next.

Watch the screen-capture video of PlayPals in action:

 

Click Here to see all the great comments we got

The Market Landscape

Current online services used by board gamers trying to join games in their area:

  • Facebook groups and events
  • Meetup events
  • Whatsapp groups
  • Reddit local city forums
  • Boardgamegeek.com forums
  • Warhorn.net
  • GameFinder
  • Gamerlink
  • World of Nerds
  • Oomba
  • Huggle
  • Nearbygamers

In this highly fragmented landscape, where services are either too big and general, or too niche and underdeveloped to provide the results board-gamers are looking for, the main advantage PlayPals can provide to the market is simply being a dedicated platform for connecting local people around board games.

Revenue Channels

Freemium for Users

Free users will get the core functionality, while Premium members will enjoy special features according to their personal or business needs.

The Premium Features are: group creation & management, game stats and counters, testing new features, person-to-person exchanges, priority status for their game-events on Map and List Pages, expanded profiles and interactive lists, special local roles like Neighborhood Captain and City Chief, and more.

Local Game Stores / Bars / Cafés

Brick & mortar locations that serve their local board game market, will be able to promote their locations and services with a special icon on their city’s game map and a dedicated page for their business.

These local businesses will also get real-time maps and metrics on the game activity around their locations, Promotion features and e-commrece links.

Board Game Publishers (Hasbro, Asmodee, Bandai, etc.)

From conversations we had with individual game publishers and CEO’s of global game companies, we learned that we all share the same goal – getting more people to play board games. But we also learned that right now, these game publishers don’t have any real-time data of games activity and of the people playing their games.

By using PlayPals data, these publishers would now be able to benefit from real-time metrics and maps on their games activity wherever and whenever they are played, the ability to increase awareness to their brand or individual games, to communicate directly with those who played their games, and the option to create special testing sessions for their current and upcoming games.

These companies would also be able to benefit from direct e-commerce options, lead generation opportunities, the ability to sponsor game-events, or to use various promotion features.

Food & Beverage Companies (and other advertisers)

There are many types of businesses that can benefit from knowing the time, location and number of participants of game-events happening around their physical location. The ability to connect and advertise to all those people by sponsoring local game-events, or by leveraging all the data, lead generation and re-marketing options.

For example:
Domino’s Pizza – can provide in-app coupons to all the PlayPals game-events being played in a specific radius from their stores. This will not only help with their bottom line, but will also improve their brand perception as one that brings people together around a social activity.

Starbucks – can provide free space for game playing and offer food & drinks discounts in times and locations where they experience activity decline. This will help them to fill out those locations, and improve their brand as the social third-place they are still trying to become.

The Marketing Plan

Our marketing plan, is based on first launching in a few North-American cities, and achieving a successful critical mass of users with all their local and social-media activities.
We should than be able to take all the activity we got as social proof, and use it to expand and launch in larger areas across the US and Canada, as well as to start the European cities launches.

We will first launch in cities that we choose to target according to board-game community activity, board game sales, social-disconnection levels, etc.
Cities like Seattle, San-Francisco, New-York, Los-Angeles and Miami in the USA. And Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal in Canada.

Pre-launch offline activities planned for target cities:

  • Meeting with game store/bar/café owners.
  • Participating in local game events and meetups.

On-going Online activities planned for target cities:

  • Advertising on a variety of social networks and channels.
  • Communicating with players and game groups whatever app, forum or platform they are using, and converting them from those to ours.

Note: From the 3 weeks test we did in Vancouver, we learned that we can reach a $2.8 CPA for a free user.

Exit Strategies

  • Global Board Game Publishers (Hasbroo, Bandai, Asmodee…) that don’t have a database of Where/When/Who plays their games around the world, or the ability to easily connect with these customers.

  • Online Gaming Companies (888 Holdings, Willian Hill, Paddy Power Betfair…) that need to connect with the millennial audience which is more into the board-games trend than the classic casino games. These companies also need the database of all the people who regularly play poker, bridge and similar games.

  • Major Social Networks (Facebook, Qzone, Google+…) that need the vertical activity of the hundreds of millions of board-gamers in the world.

  • Space as a Service companies (WeWork, LiquidSpace, Regus…) that need an active social-professional scene in their location and don’t have a simple way to do so. Which is why WeWork just bought Meetup for $200MM.

Exit Strategies

  • Global Board Game Publishers (Hasbroo, Bandai, Asmodee…) that don’t have a database of Where/When/Who plays their games around the world, or the ability to easily connect with these customers.

  • Online Gaming Companies (888 Holdings, Willian Hill, Paddy Power Betfair…) that need to connect with the millennial audience which is more into the board-games trend than the classic casino games. These companies also need the database of all the people who regularly play poker, bridge and similar games.

  • Major Social Networks (Facebook, Qzone, Google+…) that need the vertical activity of the hundreds of millions of board-gamers in the world.

  • Space as a Service companies (WeWork, LiquidSpace, Regus…) that need an active social-professional scene in their location and don’t have a simple way to do so. Which is why WeWork just bought Meetup for $200MM.

The Ask

For PlayPals to become the first real-world games platform, we need a runway of 18 months and $380k for:

  • Online Marketing & Advertising
  • Development & Testing of new versions, back office
  • Local Launch Activities and Events in North America
  • Miscellaneous (Outsource & Experts Help, Media Production, Data & third-party services, Legal, Accounting, etc)
  • Salaries for key personnel

Investment Opportunity

PlayPals is now raising its Seed Investment round. If you would like to learn more about our Financial Projections and Exit Plans, please contact us:

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The Team

Arik Sternberg

Started his professional career in 1995 as a copywriter in a small ad agency, but quickly evolved into a marketing freelance for software and online startups.

In 2007, joined Wix.com full time and worked there for 6 amazing years (Currently valued at $3 billion, with a 100 million users base).

Since 2013, been consulting on a variety of online platforms: an automated Marketing Platform for SMB’s, a Video Production Platform for SME’s, an Online Course Creation Platform, Marketing and Sales Platform for Artists, eCom Shops, etc.

Guy Sagie

Online entrepreneur for over 20 years. Founded Hi-Res Ltd. in 1998, a SecondLife-like startup where users choose avatars to interact socially and financially with each other in a virtual environment.

Founded Momentum Plus Ltd. In 2008 – a ‘one stop shop’ digital marketing agency, providing a wide range of services, from Web design to campaign management and consulting to SMB and a few global brands.

Advisors

Tal Kol

Co-founded two technology companies, the latter acquired by Wix.com, where he worked as the Head of Mobile Engineering for 4 years, serving a 100 million strong user base. Specializes in System Architecture, Software Development and Mobile Networks.

Matteo Shapira

Co-Founder and CTO of Replay Technologies (FreeD™), acquired by Intel Corporation where he works as the Senior Director of Innovation & Technology, and responsible for Intel Sports Innovations.

Strategic Partners

Asmodee Canada

Asmodee is one of the largest multinational board games, card games and role-playing games companies in the world. Having acquired some of the top game publishers, the company now owns titles like: Catan, Ticket to Ride and Pandemic, and is already converting these IP’s to digital form, as well as to movies and TV shows.

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