#14 How a business accelerator can light up your idea

Good afternoon. We decided to postpone the next article about UnnyWorld heroes, but of course it will be released here next week. Today, I’m going to tell you about the last 1.5 years of tough development.

thecrew

We started to work on UnnyWorld in December 2013. It was our intension, so nobody paid us, and we sat at home developing the game prototype. Along with that we were talking to investors, publishers and trying to apply for business accelerator programs. Unfortunately, the game was on a too early stage and in general investors afraid of gaming business, because it’s risky (yep, that is true), so we were unable to find anybody to help us to boost everything.

Those months were really challenging for the most part of our team . We didn’t know what was going to happen to all of us sooner or later. We were short on money and could have been to late delivering the game and, of course, we realized that we needed money for the soft launch.

Finally, we got our first boost in the development in October 2014. The Unnyhog team participated in the Dev Gamm conference which took place in Belorussia, Minsk. Our precious UnnyWorld was nominated for an award: “The best Unity game”. It was so exciting, but it was clear that the game was too raw to to get the prize. Anyway, a miracle was about to happen… In the next few minutes, during the ceremony, a representative of the Chartboost company went on stage and announced the winner of their award “The best mobile game”. I thought that I didn’t hear anything about that award before. It was true and that guy apologized for not announcing and putting some info about the award on the site. Guess what? We were among 3 nominees! It happened so fast, so I didn’t have enough time to think about it. As you can imagine we won that award!

won a prize

Some people might think it’s not a big deal, but for us it meant a lot. We got the award being at a prototype stage (it’s an extreme exception) and it affected a lot future conversations with important people.

Several months had passed and in February 2015 we applied to the Flat6Labs business acceleration program. They accepted our application and invited us to a Skype interview. If you have never run through this process, you might be stressed and nerves. It wasn’t the first time for us, but it was still uncomfortable. So, a week before the upcoming conversation I started to practice. It often went like this: I put the camera in front of me and tried to pitch like it was a real interview. I used the camera to get used to the feeling of being observed and estimated by somebody and to be more confident in what I was going to say. My colleague, Margarita, who usually helps me in carrying out business stuff, was filming me. On the day of the conversation I was totally ready and prepared to answer all sorts of tricky questions about us and the game. Margarita was the only person in the conversation who was nerves, but it’s usual for her:)

Among 200 startups from the globe Flat6Labs invited us and 6 other entrepreneurs to join the program, so by the beginning of March we flew to the capital of the Emirates – Abu Dhabi.

f6l team

During the next 3 months we were actively working on business, which we avoided previously. Although we had tight schedule of lectures and meet ups, the whole program was amazing.

We had pitch practice every week and after each event we got a lot of feedback from mentors who have huge expertise in a variety of fields. It looks like you always have a crystal clear vision, but in fact a lot of people gave as good advise, like: what was wrong and what was good, how to improve the flow and etc. They didn’t force us to do anything, they just strongly recommended. The whole idea of the accelerator, in general, is to boost your company and the product itself no matter what you’re doing and on what stage you are (in most cases it’s helpful for startups on an early stage). Such business program is also about preparing you to the next stage of investment. That’s why by the end of the 3d month we had a Demo day on the 3d of June. Btw, we have a video about the acceleration atmosphere, take a closer look at how we spent 3 months in Abu Dhabi:

Thanks to Flat6Labs we met a lot of interesting people, whom I believe, we could have never met without their help. People are different in the Emirates. They are much more open and they are willing to share their experience. We also were connected to several local game dev studios, like Falafel games and Lumba. They told us about their path, experience and gave useful advice. The managing director of Ubisoft Abu Dhabi – Yannick Theler became our main mentor. It’s impossible to describe how he influenced the company strategy. He helped us out a lot in organizing the development, business models and marketing plans.

The time was passing by and we were close to the Demo day. I was practicing the final pitch the last half of May but, of course, my colleagues and I was developing the game as well. For the celebration of the first graduate event a big venue with a scene was rented. More than 200 people, including mentors, investors and journalists, were invited to look at the growth of 7 startups. Honestly saying, it had been the 1st pitch in my life when I stood on the stage and was enjoying it.:)

Everybody liked the event and now we’re having conversations with investors about the future of UnnyWorld. The game has improved a lot in the last 3 months. We’re going to finish with all global features in 2 weeks and all what’s left is to add new game content, testing and checking the balance.

Btw, before I pitched the game on the stage, Unnyhog was introduced by Yannick himself. Here is the video of our presentation:

Thanks for reading! As you can imagine, all these is just a beginning of a infinite adventure for us as entrepreneurs and for you as UnnyWorld players.

If you want to participate in the UnnyWorld beta, leave your email right here.

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