Incubate Camp is a startup bootcamp program that lets entrepreneurs brush up their business idea with mentoring support from investors on a face-to-face basis, periodically organized by Japanese startup-focused investment firm Incubate Fund. Seven editions of the program have been held to date in Japan.
The firm held its first global edition called Incubate Camp Asia on February 25th, at Singapore University of Technology Design, SUTD for short. SUTD is known for Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab, which has been nourishing gaming developers in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
During the first global edition dubbed Incubate Camp Asia, gaming developers (entrepreneurs) from all across Asia and gaming publishers (investors providing mentoring support) mainly from Japan came together, teamed up and presented their polished business ideas after several review sessions.
Their ideas were scored by mentors and participating SUTD students with consideration of investment potentials, where three startups were selected out of all participating 10 startups upon their final pitch session.
Note: Some of gaming titles featured in this article are still under development.
Top Prize: JOY Entertainment J.S.C. (Vietnam)
(Mentoring by Allan Simonsen, Founder and CEO, Boomzap)
JOY Entertainment J.S.C. is a Vietnam-based gaming developers and has acquired 2 million users in the Southeast Asian region with their 3D MMOTPS (multiplayer onlinne third-person shooter) gaming titles. Going forward, the company wants to expand their business beyond to mainland China, Japan, Korea, and other markets, exploring potential partnership with gaming companies like Tencent in China as well as DeNA and Gumi in Japan. They are currently raising money to start self-publishing their titles in Vietnam.
Allan Simonsen, who has been working for over a decade in this space, lectured about improvements in user experience and monetization strategies. He acclaimed the team because of their passion and the promising achievement of having introduced apps that have attracted many users in the region.
2nd Prize: Alkemis Games (Indonesia)
(Mentoring by Juno Shin, Business Development Leader, Tencent Japan)
Alkemis Games is now developing a gaming title which will be launched this coming spring in Indonesia. They are interested in keeping the app in the higher rank on the AppStore for a long time, rather than taking a stab at top rank fame.
The team introduced their use case based on Pickfu.com, where developers can receive feedback from the market through presentation of multiple improvement proposals. Tencent’s Shin advocated some ideas like adding a GvG (Guild vs Guild) flavor or the concept of swapping and renting virtual items in the game, aiming to help them differentiate from other competing titles in the U.S.
3rd Prize: SnoozeFox (Thailand)
(Mentoring by Minori Iwaki, COO and Senior Vice President, Sega Networks)
Bangkok-based SnoozeFox has developed a game title called Chaos Sphere. They were advised to add some features like auto-batting mode as well as increasing the variety of characters, weapons and consuming virtual items in the game, aiming to gain a lifetime value of users.
Iwaki praised the team for its awesome game assets and having adopted GvG experience in their app.
What impressed me during the event was a comment given by David Ng, CEO of Gumi Asia. According to him, gaming developers who have less experience in working with gaming publishers usually start developing an app without considering its publishing process. These developers are so devoted to refining user interface and experience that the size of their app may be larger than 1 gigabytes. Such a huge size for gaming apps means a quick death regardless of quality, especially when broadband connectivity is likely unavailable such as in Indonesia.
Although it may be hard for developers in Southeast Asia where they typically have few gaming publishers in the neighborhood, Ng noted that developers should stay alert on the publishing side but not scamp the improvement process of user interface and experience regardless of whether your title is a major or indie one. Other participating mentors also agreed with his insight that encourages developers to listen to market voices.
Other participating startups and mentors were:
- Altitude games (the Philippines), mentoring by Jakob Lykkegaard, Co-Founder/CEO, Playlab
- Dreamlords Digital (the Philippines / US), mentoring by Akira Abe, General Manager, DeNA Asia Singapore
- Firebeast Studio (Indonesia), mentoring by Kazuyuki Hagiwara, COO, Aiming
- Hextek (China), mentoring by David Ng, CEO of Gumi Asia
- Ixora Studios (Singapore), mentoring by Gerald Tock, Co-Founder/CEO, Inzen Studio
- Touch Dimensions (Singapore), mentoring by Kent Byers, Co-Founder/CEO, Booster Pack
- Witching Hour (Singapore), mentoring by Yusuke Murata, General Partner, Incubate Fund
Disclosure: Incubate Fund is a sponsoring member of The Bridge.
Translated by Sumi Yo via Mother First
Edited by Masaru Ikeda
Proofread by “Tex” Pomeroy