Silicon Valley-based company WinView Games’s recently raised a $3.4 Million Series A funding round led by entertainment veteran Hank Ratner and TiVo chairman Tom Rogers. We sat down with Dave B. Lockton, founder of WinView Games to learn more:
Q: Dave, tell us please how the idea to create WinView Games was born?
A: The idea to play along with a live sporting event on TV, like football, using a second screen app, was something I created and patented back in 1987. I had founded a company called Interactive Network (IN) based upon a U.S. patent I received for the use of wireless push technology to control TV viewers in real-time games of skill based upon unfolding televised sports, game shows and entertainment programming. In short, we pioneered “two-screen television” and created technical platforms to deliver synchronized, real-time two-screen information and entertainment services to consumers. But my vision was ahead of its time. Technology and market conditions to eliminate friction and the requirements for our business model have just recently intersected. Smart phones, battery life, Wi-Fi, cloud servers, the iPhone/App Store and Android/Google Play, the ubiquitous use of the cell phone with the TV, and the education of the market by daily fantasy leagues about sports-based games of skill, have made in-play gaming on mobile a $165 billion business in just five years in Europe.
As the interactive TV model continued to flourish in Europe, it was time to create a new platform for sports enthusiasts here in the US and give them the opportunity to play along live, test their skills,
and make in-game predictions in real time throughout the duration of the game. As the average American spends six hours a week watching football during the season and fantasy league players spending 8.5 hours a week, we saw an opportunity for a new groundbreaking alternative to daily and season-long fantasy sports where players could add to what they were already obsessed about but couldn’t do before, but now they can with our WinView Games platform.
Q: Tell us something more about WinView Games and your betting app?
A: Well, I wouldn’t call it betting at all, because that would imply gambling. We don’t meet the gambling criteria, which is consideration, chance and payout. We don’t charge consideration,
which is a fact, not perception.
We’re good, family fun. Our app is free to enter because it’s advertising supported. There’s never any money required by a user, so participation is completely legal across the country in every state. WinView Games is an experience, a game of skill, not chance. Watch football, have fun, and make money is a simple way to look at us – we offer users a unique entertainment experience to play along live when watching sports on TV. Right now, we’re focused on professional and college football. Players are able to experience football in a new way by making ingame predictions for a chance to win cash prizes. The experience is perfectly balanced to play long with the game without being distracted from actually watching and enjoying the game. In short, it’s fun and additive to watching the game.
Our games are produced live, not robotic, by real people, real producers, who are watching the game live unfold like you are. They are knowledgeable and experts. They’re adept at predicting the odds of what might happen on the play to make it interesting for the skilled players. Our users play for the excitement and competition among themselves and to socialize with friends. Our modest prize pools directly relate to the number of players and will also be significantly different than typical “freemium” mobile apps that are free to play, but require cash payments for game tokens required to win. Our users play for points in each one quarter football game. At the end of each game, the player’s points convert into WinView points, which convert into cash.
Q: How is WinView Games different than existing platforms?
A: WinView is the only two-screen experience where users get to play along live in real time and predict the play. Sports fans and fantasy football fans are already on their phones during the game, tweeting and posting and checking scores. Now they have something to do that’s even more fun and exciting in addition to what they’re already doing.
For example, fantasy leagues focus primarily on season-long and daily fantasy competitions where viewer engagement in fantasy leagues stops when the game begins, whereas WinView’s experience starts at game time and lasts until the very last play of the game. Blow out games are no longer checkout games by the viewer. WinView users watch and predict what happens until the very last play.
WinView Games is also a highly social experience whereas daily fantasy is not, opening the door for WinView Games. People want to be involved with the sport they love in an interactive way because when watching a sport, you’re deeply involved and emotionally invested in the game.
Q: You’ve recently announced a $3.4 million series A funding round; what are your plans?
A: With successful beta test of the 2015-2016 season under our belt, which proved our business model and viral interest in our app, we were able to raise our next round of funding. Going forward, we are focused on building out the next version of the app, which will be available on iOS and Android, with plans to coincide with the upcoming football season this fall.
We’ll also use part of the proceeds to launch a multi-million-dollar national advertising and PR campaign across all the top digital and social platforms, which will last all the way up to the Super Bowl.
Q: How would you convince the reader to start using WinView Games?
A: If you love live NFL or college football, if you like fantasy sports, you’re going to love the reality of WinView Games. Interest in football and fantasy football starts to surge in August, gearing up to the first game of the season. Fans are going to draft parties and fantasy camps all summer long and watching the preseason games. When it comes to game time, now they can for the first time play along live and predict the play, test their skills, socialize with friends and talk ‘smack,’ and make a little money by watching football. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s wildly rewarding. You’ll never just watch a game again, you’ll be playing right along with them with a heartpounding sensation until the very last play.