Paris, France was the gracious host of the 2018 Viva Technology conference – a conference that invites 75,000+ startups, corporations, students, and investors from all over the world. Viva Tech has a very special place in the heart of the GoodBookey team and it’s not just because Paris is one of the better places that you can go to a conference. For GoodBookey, it’s the simple reason that our inaugural visit in 2016 resulted in us winning the Publicis90, a $100,000 grant awarded to the most innovative startups.
We headed to Viva Technology this year, our 3rd year participating, as a guest of PMU (the French state-controlled betting system) for their annual pitch competition. Given the conference’s general focus on the French economy and PMU’s position as a state-run entity, we knew the competition would be tough but like any startup, we got a good opportunity so we took it! After all, our history at Viva Tech isn’t too shabby. We were one of the first companies to pitch for the PMU competition, which was honestly nice because we all know that few things are worse than having to sit around all day in anticipation of presenting. After all the dust settled on the pitch competition front, it turned out that we didn’t end up in the winner’s circle. As very competitive people, this is obviously disappointing but there were a lot of solid companies participating that deserved to win, so at the end of the day, you just have to tip your cap and keep moving.
Outside of the opportunity to pitch for PMU, a huge draw to Viva Tech (and most other big conferences) is that it’s stacked with incredible opportunities to meet with almost anyone you can think of and learn from some of the most innovative companies across almost all major industries – IOT, AR/VR, Crypto…you get it. Name a buzzword, and it’s there – heck, there was even a pretty awesome flying car exhibit by Airbus.
Seeing that our focus with GoodBookey is to create custom games for charity that are sponsored by innovative brands, we were in the perfect place to try and generate some business and get quality feedback – and we did just that. A cool part of that experience is hearing the wide range of perspectives on what we are doing with GoodBookey from people in different industries and different countries. Some people that stopped by were all about the sports and gaming perspective, thinking it was so cool to make fun games around sports betting. Others that came to our booth loved the fact that we are able to creatively find a cool and engaging way to raise money for charity. I loved all of these conversations. The best part, in my opinion, is when you get engaged in conversation and you see the other person getting invested in what you are talking about – and when they do, their mental wheels start turning and they come up with new and unique perspectives. It’s in these conversations that little revelations happen, which can help you shape and grow your business.
On more of a macro level, we’re always interested in observing what the general reaction to the core elements of GoodBookey – sports betting and charity – is going to be. Like all startups, we are trying to live on the leading edge, and that means we need to know when the world is catching up and ready to accept the thing we thought was going to be huge. I interestingly learned that in our first years at Viva Tech there was a lot of intrigue around the aspect of sports betting, but little interest in the aspect of social responsibility. Over the past few years, however, this has changed drastically – while sports betting and creating fun games are still of great interest to conference attendees, it’s the element of social responsibility that has significantly spiked, especially in the mind of the companies that we talked to.
For us this shift brings one thing to mind: timing is everything. Companies build, iterate, and build some more, gaining traction and making progress along the way, hoping that their hard work is paired with the right timing, sending their company into orbit. In our industry, the momentum has been building over the past few years for both the world of sports betting and social responsibility – and we are getting to a point now where there has never been more interest in both, simultaneously. This is exactly the timing we are looking for in order to maximize the impact GoodBookey can have, and we are excited to see how we can grow and help shape this exciting industry.