Virtual Corporation Ltd (VCL) recently launched its latest mobile betting game; FootballBingo. The web app is live and a native app is set to launch in January.
It’s all go at VCL HQ and we chatted with Managing Director Nathan Griffin to discuss their gaming products, succeeding in a tough market and the company’s vision for the future.
SBC: Nathan, thanks for talking to us. Can you introduce your latest product, Football Bingo, and tell us what sets it apart from the competition?
Nathan: In short, huge excitement for little cost. Our FootballBingo product is pretty groundbreaking as it allows players to be in with a chance of winning for the full 90 minute period between 3pm and 5pm on Saturdays. It combines the two biggest participation games on the planet. A player chooses 15 teams that they think will score a goal from the day’s 3pm fixtures, these are placed in random order on a Bingo ticket.
At 3pm the bingo race starts, and the tickets update automatically as the goals fly in. There are spot prizes and the normal, 4 corners, vertical line and full house prizes. We also have a £50,000 first half jackpot for any skillful player who gets all 15 goals in the first half. Our players have given amazing feedback, and love playing it.
SBC: As a part owner of VCL along with former footballer Gary Simpson and investor Marie Williams, what are your industry backgrounds?
Nathan: Gary has played and managed at pro level, most recently at Lincoln City. Marie has her own business and is a true investment angel for VCL, providing advice and finance. I’ve been running and building businesses since I was young. This has been mainly in the IT, internet and SEO solutions industries.
This is our first betting industry product. It’s taken 5 years to get here. We wanted to create something new, colourful and exciting. FootballBingo certainly is that, and it’s filled with drama, especially towards the end of the games, when hundreds of players are requiring 2 or 3 teams to score. At £2 per entry it provides fantastic excitement with the chance to use knowledge to win cash prizes.
SBC: You’re currently seeking investment via the CrowdforAngels platform. What is the intended goal in regards to this?
Nathan: We want to find investment partners in this first round, to help fund this product’s initial marketing campaigns. We have come through our proof of concept, and scalable scope periods last season and the game is now ready for huge growth around Christmas.
Coupled with that we also require investment to help with negative cash-flow and grow our internal team to build further online products in the pipeline. The investment pitch has given us business exposure, and we have recently turned down a takeover bid for VCL.
SBC: Chris Waddle is an ambassador in relation to the work you do with fundraising for grassroots football. How was this relationship established?
Nathan: Gary had connections with Chris, and they met a number of times to chat through the possibilities of our business helping grassroots football. Chris always wants to help the game at the lower levels and he kindly allowed us to use his name with regards to any future funding we provide to grassroots community football projects.
SBC: Mobile is of vital importance these days. With the development of the app is the intention to keep adding to the roster of games?
Nathan: Yes, we have three games in development, I don’t want to say too much about the new games as they will all be pretty unique!
Our main aim is to allow players to get maximum excitement from a very small bet. We feel this is definitely the more responsible way to approach betting. There’s so much focus on responsible gambling these days and we feel as a provider we must always try to maximise the enjoyment a player gets. That should not have to come at a huge cost.
We intend to make all our products very low cost to enter, with maximum social connection and sharing of the drama as the live events happen.
SBC: VCL provides ‘fun, online betting games, developed in-house.’ How difficult is it to monetize such mobile based games? Especially with the ferocity of the competition out there today.
Nathan: We find the model we have very profitable, however our main difficulty has been credibility. We are new, the game is new and we’ve been forced to grow the game and brand via word of mouth, friends, family and social media interaction. As we are now acquiring new players each day, we are starting to understand the potential open to us.
We have been very active recently in trying to join with an “Affinity Marketing” partner, and have demonstrated the football bingo game to a very well known sports television channel. That’s under consideration, and would probably be offered in a similar fashion to Sky’s Super 6 product. If successful this would send the product into orbit within weeks.
Nathan Griffin, Managing Director VCL