Four years ago, I announced that I was selling GoodGame to Twitch. GoodGame was in its prime - our teams, Evil Geniuses and Alliance, were at the top of the industry, and our tournaments and agency were prescribed to by many of the best of the best. But I sold because I was tired of the way things were. Esports have always made my heart beat faster - they're a unique combination of sports, video games, and technology that have felt like the wave of the future since I first touched them almost 20 years ago. But after a long career in the industry, the constant politics, opacity, and latent inefficiencies were a source of daily frustration and heartbreak - especially in a space with so much promise.
I sold because I wanted to make things better. I felt I had accomplished everything I could as a team owner (our teams to this day still hold the world record in prize money over four years later) and I was ready to move on to addressing the core industry problems that had plagued us all for so long. I thought selling to Twitch would be the best way to do this, but things didn't go the way I planned - little did I know, the decision I thought I was making to empower my vision would only end up dismantling it. 18 months later, in the summer of 2016, I left, devastated that my life's work had been undone. But I was determined to start over again and find a better way to fix things. Today, I'm excited to share that better way with you.
So much about esports and live streaming has changed in the past four years, but so much still remains the same. We're finally getting the attention we deserve, with record-breaking viewership numbers, countless societal figures participating and making investments, and more money flowing through the space than ever. And yet, despite this growth, our core problems persist. Industry businesses haven't found themselves yet, and still struggle to find focus in a world where the ground is shifting beneath their feet. Revenue per viewer is down relative to where it should be, and advertisers have yet to commit budgets that reflect the audience's true value. The landscape is confusing and difficult to navigate for everybody, and perhaps most notably, there is an investment economy which will go from optimistic to unstable if left unchecked. Overall, the industry has a distinct unity, transparency, and efficiency problem.
Enter Popdog. We've built our company around one fundamental belief: that esports and live streaming, each born from technology more so than any other sports or entertainment vertical we've ever seen, can't be figured out without custom technology designed to fit their needs - they're too complex to be optimized on manpower alone. In short, the industry needs a backend, and we think we are that backend. We've assembled an incredible team of industry leaders and veterans that couldn't be better-suited to tackle these complex problems in a space that needs help. Our leadership team alone - which boasts an esports founding father (Andreas); a seasoned sports and entertainment veteran (Josh); my former partner at GoodGame (Colin); and a lifelong entrepreneur turned gaming talent executive (Niles) - is something I'm incredibly proud of. And that's not to even speak of all of the other great people involved.
Popdog starts with three core offerings - and we'll be adding more over time. Everything we do is designed to support the industry as a whole, so whether you're a player, team, streamer, tournament, publisher, agency, advertiser, or otherwise, there should be something here for you (and if there's not, we want to know why). In either case, we'd love to hear from you.
Founder & CEO