Juked CEO on company’s crowdfunding campaign, future plans

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itchywhich wants to establish itself as a one-stop shop for esports, has launched a crowdfunding campaign – with the decision to forego venture capital firms and instead allow the public to invest at least US$100 (£77.67).

To see how Juked’s corporate mission is progressing, why they decided to go down this path, and plans for funding, Esports Insider spoke to the CEO Ben Goldhaber.

Juked crowdfunding campaign
Credit: Juke

“Even before the outbreak of COVID, crowd equity was an attractive path for us for a number of reasons,” explained Goldhaber. “We love the idea of ​​giving anyone the opportunity to invest in Juked to not only own a part of a fast growing esports startup but to actively contribute to the development and success of our product. We are excited about the opportunity to potentially convert thousands of investors into new brand advocates, supporters and product testers, and will work directly with our crowd equity investors to improve the product. Juked is a community-for-community product, so getting the esports community on board makes a lot of sense.”

“Crowd equity gives us more control over our destiny,” he continued. “Instead of being indebted to overbearing VCs, we are indebted directly to the esports community. These factors combined made crowd equity the right path for us.”

We’re used to big organizations raising tens of millions of dollars, but Juked isn’t an organization and, frankly, doesn’t sink as much capital anywhere as those raising staggering numbers. “We would like to raise $250,000 via crowd equity, but if there is sufficient interest we could exceed that amount,” Goldhaber told ESI. “Our team is still very small (four full-timers and a couple of contractors), so this is a very significant amount that gives us runway and the opportunity to grow our team.”

While that may seem like a modest sum in esports these days, funding for Juked would go a long way should the goal be met – and there’s no worries. At the time of writing, after the company sent the link to a select portion of its early user base, fundraising was at 110 percent of its minimum goal.

“Proceeds from this round will primarily be used to hire our engineering and content teams,” Goldhaber explained. “In the near future, we plan to significantly expand Juked’s product offering, including social features and gamification, as well as launching apps for iOS and Android. For this we need more engineering resources and will try to hire 2-3 engineers in the next 12 months.

“On the content side, we still believe there is tremendous untapped opportunity in esports to create event previews and recaps for the biggest leagues, weekly podcasts/talk shows, highlight shows and more. I won’t spoil everything here, but suffice it to say, we’re excited about the content.”

Juked isn’t averse to traditional funding avenues, however, having raised $800,000 (£622,860) through its pre-seed round in February. The increase was used by the startup expanding its offering to include scores, team portals and news aggregation.

Since then, Goldhaber and his team have acted quickly to diversify what’s on offer for fans – not only in search of aggregated event broadcasts, but also other attractive features and sources of information.

“It was a hurricane,” he said. “Our product has evolved significantly with the launch of eSports news on Juked, eSports team pages, our own Discord bot, Daily Digest emails and more.

“On the traction front, we have been able to grow significantly to up to 50,000 active users per month with extremely limited marketing, mostly through word of mouth and through partnerships with organizers of esports tournaments across the spectrum from grassroots to Tier 1. 2020 has many challenges comes with it, but we’re all gamers, so remote discord meetings suit us well.”

The deadline for the crowdfunding campaign on Republic is May 1st, and while Juked has already surpassed its minimum goal, it will be interesting to see how the initiative fares, considering Juked was built specifically for, the very people to serve who are encouraged to invest: fans.

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