Gamerji is a mobile app platform on android and iOS where more than 20 tournaments are hosted daily for games like PUBG, Call of Duty, Free Fire etc. A user once registered can join these tournaments on the app for an entry fee and get to compete with other gamers. Gamerji’s team moderates there tournaments for fair play and at the end the winners are given cash prizes. Gamerji was founded by Soham Thacker a Computer Engineer from the USA who moved back to India in 2012 after having worked for corporates like Motorola and Johnson & Johnson. Soham has been an entrepreneur ever since with Gamerji being his 4th venture with previous startups being in the F&B and ecommerce space. Soham Thacker along with Valay Patel (CTO) did the initial development of the platform from March 2019 and now Soham manages the operations and growth and Valay is the head of technology.
Core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Soham Thacker (Founder & CEO): A Computer Engineer from USA, Soham moved to India in 2012 after having worked for multi national companies such as SAP & Motorola. His most successful venture was Just Mexican – a fast food restaurant chain that grew from a food truck to 13 restaurants in 2 years. He successfully exited the venture in 2015.
- Varun Gajjar (Investor & Advisor): Varun was the sales & marketing head at La Gajjar Machineries which owns the brand Varuna Pumps – one of the most successful pumps manufacturing companies in Gujarat, India estd. in 1935. Varun played a vital role in the merger of Varuna pumps with Kirloskar Oil Engines Pvt Ltd. in 2018.
- Valay Patel (CTO): Valay holds a degree in Computer Science and heads the technical division of Fantasy Games. Prior to this he has headed multiple tech development projects as an entrepreneur and a freelancer since last 5 years.
- Aman Jain (COO): Aman is a chemical engineer from IIT Kanpur. Having worked with multi national companies such as ITC & OYO rooms, Aman brings in more than 4 years of experience in leadership & team management
We are publishing an interview with Mr. Soham Thacker, Founder – Gamerji.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: We are average gamers who never got a chance to play professionally or gain any benefits by playing online games. There are multiple esports tournaments hosted world wide for pro level gamers, but what about the 99.9% of the other casual gamers who still spend hours everyday playing the same game? This made us realize the gap and the potential of hosting virtual tournaments where these gamers get a chance to make a mark and also make money.
Gamerji was launched with a pan India squad tournament called Air Drop 1.0 which has more than 4000 participants. This tournament gained immense popularity in the gaming community and got Gamerji its first set of paying customers.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: eSports as an industry is fairly new in the Indian market. Prior to Gamerji, most of the tournaments were either hosted offline or using social media platforms. Registrations, player management & payments were handled using different platforms. Gamerji brought all of this at one place and is currently hosting more than 15 tournaments everyday.
Most of the eSports companies are focused on either conducting offline tournaments on a grand scale or sponsoring teams. The focus has never been on casual gamers who consist of the majority of the market.
At Gamerji, we have researched and understood the mindset of a casual gamer who on an average spends more than 2 hours everyday playing online games. These gamers are looking for an opportunity to make money and fame by using their skills and Gamerji is a unique platform which provides them with this opportunity.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: The primary assumption with which Gamerji has entered the market is that Esports is a growing industry and with the youth addicted towards online gaming, the industry is showing promising future. An idea customer for Gamerji is a semi pro gamer who plays video games atleast 2 hours daily. The platform has more than 200K of these games signed up.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Ans: During my previous startup which was in the fantasy sports space, we went aggressive with user acquisition during the IPL & World Cup 2019. Though we were able to gain good traction during these major tournaments, user retention was a major problem post these events for which there was no plan in place.
The biggest learning I got from this experience was to keep user acquisition in check and build a product that was not dependent on external events and had a potential to grow consistently. Hence Gamerji was born!
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Gamerji follows a platform fee model, where gamers participate in tournaments for a specific fee which comprises of the prize pool of which Gamerji charges platform fees. Along with it, Gamerji also generates revenue through sponsored tournaments.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Gamerji received pre seed funding from Varun Gajjar (Angel Investor) of 1.25 crores to build the product and initial traction.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it. ?
Ans: Gamerji was the only startup from India to be selected by Qatar sport tech, a Qatar government initiative to promote esports companies.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in detail.
Ans: Gamerji was launched in July 2019 and currently is standing at the following numbers. Registered Gamers: 207000, Revenue: 38 Lacs & 3800+ tournaments conducted so far.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Gamerji is planning on becoming the largest competitive platform for gamers to play their favorite games and make a career in esports. Cash prizes are an added incentive along the way.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: A platform called Gaming Monk has been in the business longer than Gamerji along with unregulated market of conducting tournaments using social media platforms.
Gamerji was the first platform to introduce paid tournaments and has unique features like gaming stats, leaderboard, content sharing & communication between gamers making it stand out.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: Gamerji is planning to grow to over 1M gamers in the next 6 months and is looking to secure its seed round of funding.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: It’s ok to not succeed in your first venture or the next or the next, but what is important is that you tried, learnt & grew as an entrepreneur.
Thanks Soham. All the best!