I founded Stakester in 2019, but we didn’t launch until May 2020 – right in the middle of a pandemic. Stakester is a platform that allows gamers of any level to back themselves by playing their favourite video games against online opponents around the world for the chance to win cash and prizes. Users can play video games such as FIFA 21, Call of Duty: Warzone, UFC 4 and Rocket League among many more, putting their hard-earned skills to the test against real people.
During the pandemic, the esports and video games industries enjoyed a boom as more people were driven online. Around 50% of the UK population embraced gaming over the past year – something that we see reflected in Stakester’s rising number of users.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I’m a very competitive person and enjoy challenging friends to a variety of sports. In fact, it’s something that we’ve built into the company culture at Stakester with employee challenges on their company-provided fitness trackers that give them the chance to win prizes.
I came up with the idea for Stakester when challenging a friend to an impromptu Jiu-Jitsu match, and confident in my abilities, I decided to put a stake on the match. The other guy agreed to it, but when I won he never paid up. It baffled me that he didn’t stick to his word in a friendly competition after agreeing to the stake, and I wanted to create a platform where everyone has the chance to back themselves and their skills with confidence, knowing that when they do so, their success will be honoured. From there I created Stakester – a platform where competition is the key, trust is the lock and gaming is the door.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, we saw tremendous growth of users on the platform. With the majority of people working from home, and unable to socialise in person with friends, many turned to online gaming for fun as well as to stay connected. Since December 2020, we’ve seen a 4500% increase in people playing games via the Stakester platform and have now reached 60,000 users. As a result, in just 18 months Stakester has gone from a valuation of £2million to £50million.
Following the growth of the platform, our company has also expanded dramatically – in February 2020 we were seven people, and now we have 30 employees. Company culture has played a massive part in retaining and growing our incredible team. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, so we’ve brought in different policies and benefits that have helped the transition from remote, to hybrid or back to the office, depending on how our team wants to work.
This includes a ‘work from anywhere’ approach, so staff can work in the office, from home, or anywhere around the world from Bolton to Dubai, with an allowance to get them set up where they want to be.
What can we hope to see from Stakester in the future?
We’ll continue to focus on developing the offerings our platform provides, with an emphasis on competitive integrity, accessibility, fun and rewards. We expect gamers to continue to strive for greatness and the esports industry to keep growing.
At the moment we’re active in over 30 countries, including Europe, UK and North America. Our goal is to continue the reach of the platform and ensure gamers anywhere in the world can access Stakester. The Indian and Asian markets are huge for gaming so whilst retaining development in the Western world, we’re striving to break into the Eastern markets. We want Stakester to be the go-to place and community for gamers all around the world to back their online gaming skills.