We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Thomas Jaramillo”, CTO of the West Covina – USA based start-up “GC Gaming”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Hello, I’m Thomas T Jaramillo and I serve as GC Gaming’s Chief Technology Officer. I’m responsible for overseeing the development of current and future games, and implementing our technologies to remain competitive. Our company is dedicated to creating free mobile games that are accessible to anyone, and rewarding players with gift cards to many popular places.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Our startup was conceptualized in March of 2014 when my best friend Alfredo and I had the idea to bring our passion for gaming to others. The development concluded for iOS in September of the same year, and our game Spin N’ Win Slots is currently available in the App store. Android development is in production as well, and the player base is growing daily.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Our business model is simple – we wanted to create fun and rewarding games for our players – and by sharing our ad revenue, we were able to do so. We were tired of games that made us pay for everything just to get to the next level or acquire upgrades for $1.99… it really does add up. So we wanted to turn the tables and give back to the players.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I have known my business partner and best friend, Alfredo Garcia, our Chief Operations Officer, for more than a decade. He is responsible for the day to day tasks and overseeing our business relations as well as some marketing efforts. We were also very fortunate to work with a team of developers who really shared our vision and passion to see our project to completion.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our game Spin N’ Win Slots is very unique in the sense that we are actually offering real rewards for players just to play our game. With our hectic daily lives, it’s easy for stress to occur.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We are very proud to say that we have several thousands of players playing Spin N’ Win Slots in a span of only a few months. And with little to no marketing efforts, I consider that to be a great milestone for our startup.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our major competitors would be the largest mobile gaming companies out there like Zynga and King etc. But our competitive edge over them is that we are offering a chance for our players to win gift cards at their favorite retailers. Honestly, I don’t think it gets better than that!
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Well we faced many obstacles in the development process. From allocating the funds to the ad revenue, paying the winning players, to the user interface design and functionality of the slots. There were many times we thought about giving up as we faced obstacles that we thought we could not overcome. But we pushed ourselves beyond our mental and physical limits to find the desired solutions for each problem we faced and worked together as a team.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
I think most outsiders wouldn’t have any idea of how much time and effort goes into making a game or underestimate the amount of work it takes… from selecting the right music, to designing the proper look and feel, and considering all the player variables that might occur during gameplay, there are many things to consider and deal with.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Well, we have no alternative other than to succeed. I don’t believe in failure, but I do acknowledge setbacks that can be recovered from. With our rewarding concept and fun gaming experience, I truly believe our company has a formula for success!
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
If our startup GC Gaming succeeds, we have plans to develop different genres of games ranging from puzzles, action, casino, and more…all with applying the same rewarding concept of course.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
We chose this concept really out of frustration from the current direction of the mobile gaming market. We were tired of games making us pay for everything just to get to the next level or acquire an upgrade for $1.99… it really does add up. But we both loved gaming and strongly believed in having a fun and free gaming experience. That’s why we wanted to provide a unique company that turned the tables and gave back to the players.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
I have learned so much in the past several months during the development stages of our game Spin N’ Win Slots – from a programming prospective, and even from multiple design aspects. But all of what I have learned is definitely invaluable to my career and future endeavors.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Well it’s a bit difficult to anticipate all variables that might occur during the duration of six months from now. But perhaps development benchmarks, game enhancements, player retention, and even market share retention would be some of the biggest problems. However, we are ready to handle anything that comes our way, and we will take any action necessary to acclimate.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit for our Spin N’ Win Slots players is that they have the opportunity to win real rewards that they can redeem at their favorite retailer like Starbucks, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, McDonald’s, Ebay, Fandango to name a few.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We advertise on multiple channels of media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Adsense, and other ad platforms to help our exposure to new players.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current players come from a wide range of demographics. We have young players, old players, casual gamers, and a few serious slots enthusiasts. We really do not have a targeted player base, because we want everybody to have fun while having the opportunity to be rewarded.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New players come from many different places like Facebook and even word of mouth. The biggest draw for our players is that we offer a chance to actually win real rewards in the game, which is pretty unique for a slot based game.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Many of our gamers really enjoy Spin N’ Win Slots because it’s simple, fun, addicting, and of course you have the chance to win real rewards at your favorite retailer. iOSappslists.com states “Overall, Spin N’ Win Slots is a free iOS game that definitely entices players with the possibility of winning real gift cards just by playing a game!”
20. How are you going to scale?
In terms of scaling technologies, we utilize Amazon’s Web Services for our game hosting, and it expands based on all of the player’s activities automatically. This will prevents any unforeseen data spikes and keep our servers up and running.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Many of our players want more themes and mini games incorporated to make the game more interactive and fun. So we plan to invest in such improvements in the upcoming months.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Well we are currently operating internationally already, and our most popular countries include the US, Canada, Australia, China and Mexico. Our gift card payment provider is Visa for international winners.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Well we’re anticipating our company to grow and expand as much as possible. We want our players to win more because the more players we have playing, the more chances they’ll have to win. Part of our goal to achieve this is to expand marketing efforts to other countries such as China and the EU.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Currently we do not have any job openings at this time, but we will in the future for programmers, designers and developers. Any inquires can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are always looking to expand our business relations, and especially with Venture Capitalists that might share our vision. They can email me at email@example.com.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
The advice I would give to other entrepreneurs is to never ever give up on your dreams and ideas, no matter how many times you fail, no matter what other people say,always stay true to your heart and make your work your passion.