Idan Yehuda & Alon Danoch are not ones to be daunted by big problems. Last year, they launched SparkConsole, a company focused on bringing people together, empowering them to learn from one another and cultivate meaningful relationships through the universal medium of gaming.
Last September, I talked with Idan & Alon in Silicon Beach to talk about what it’s like to be the driving force behind a fast-growing online game marketplace. The following is a glimpse into the vision of SparkConsole.
We came up with the idea after experiencing the pain first hand. It all started a few months after I purchased PlayerUnknown's: Battlegrounds, the game that sparked the whole battle royale trend. My cofounder, Alon Danoch, decided to join me and some friends in purchasing the game. Before playing with him, I decided to show him the ropes. I referred him to YouTube and gave him a playlist several hours long to show him the ropes. Excited to jump right into things, he first tried finding someone to practice with online, but after an hour of no luck, I agreed to play with him. Right from the get-go, it became apparent that I was more experienced, so he started following my advice to the letter. The experience turned out to be incredibly insightful. For Alon, the benefit was obvious: Learning to play with someone more experienced who could answer all of his questions. But what was more surprising was the experience that I had. Even though he was a noob, having a fully dedicated player in my party made me perform much better and made me feel like a pro. We both understood that there was a huge issue with the way gamers interacted online, and we wanted to make it better.
What trends do you see in the online gaming world?
With the way multiplayer games have become, one’s in-game performance is heavily dependent on one’s interaction with their team. This results in the constant frustration of finding other similar-skilled players to play with. Even for someone with a large social network like me, it remains surprisingly hard to be online at the same time. SparkConsole enables users to find like-minded players instantly and free. Users can ensure they have the best gaming experience playing with someone belonging to a similar age group, common language, or in-game playstyle.
What makes you unique?
We view coaching as an unaddressed problem in the world of online game matchmaking. We find it to be the case that when gamers have fun, they also get better. This is reflected by our company’s mission, which focuses on creating higher quality interactions to help gamers maximize their potential.
Pivoting has become commonplace for companies vying for a piece of the online market. How has pivoting influenced the market strategy of Spark Console?
When we first started, just over a year ago, we succumbed to the classical error of developing a product before validating our idea. We simply went with our gut feelings and discovered that it wasn’t something people were looking for. From this experience, we learned about the importance of validating ideas and ensuring market demand before you even have a working product. We implemented this approach with our current platform; we performed hundreds of interviews with potential customers before investing valuable time and resources into development. We wanted to ensure that the pain we were targeting truly resonated with as many users as possible, and from the engagement metrics we have received from our initial pilot, I can confidently say that it was worth it.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!
Talking to potential customers has helped us incredibly.
At first, it was about understanding the market need that we were addressing and understanding how our customers felt about it. Then came the first funnel. We kept the conversation going by allowing our customers to be a part of the creative process. We allowed them to design and change the way our product felt according to their own individual needs. We plan to continue using the same approach moving forward. In the end, customers are the most important part of a startup.
Idan Yehuda & Alon Danoch are the Co-founders of Spark Console, an online marketplace that connects gamers across different levels. It gives skilled players the ability to monetize their gaming experience by selling gaming sessions to novice players.