Kadri Ugand provided the guidelines she uses to evaluate teams for investment suitability at Casual Connect Kyiv 2013.
Kadri Ugand is Co-founder and Manager of GameFounders, the first game accelerator in Europe. Based in Tallin, Estonia, GameFounders focuses on startups, particularly small teams of entrepreneurs in the very early stages of their companies. They attract not only companies that build games, but also those providing gamified apps, platforms, tools, and other game-related services. The support they offer these companies includes seed capital, office space, mentoring, training, and services. She tells us that accelerators are able to bring the relevant knowledge, experience and motivation that allow startups to discover quickly whether an idea has the potential to succeed.
She explains that GameFounders is a niche accelerator, aimed specifically at gaming because they can give much more value with this approach. The teams understand what the others are doing, and the mentors and partners are 100 percent relevant. The mentors also have the advantage of seeing only teams they will potentially do business with.
Ugand was attracted to the games industry because of the combination of creativity and business. She points out that many creative industries consider themselves more of an art form than a business, but the games industry is different in that it emphasizes both. And she loves the openness, helpfulness and fun attitude of the people in the industry.
The greatest satisfaction for Ugand comes when their startups launch their games and begin making their dreams come true. She cites the recent release of Oborun as an example.
She is very focused on her work, claiming that when they have teams in Tallin, work is also her hobby. They go out with the teams and mentors every week, exploring Estonia with them. Ugand’s career has always been working with startups. She emphasizes that success is entirely dependent on the team, saying “Great teams can make average products great, but bad teams cannot make great products succeed.”
At Casual Connect Kyiv, Ugand announced that GameFounders is now looking for its fourth batch of gaming startups. The application deadline is December 8, 2013, and those interested can apply at gamefounders.com.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.