Champions Round is a mobile game company that builds the entire funnel of sports games for fans of traditional sports and Esports. We talked to co-founder and CEO, Crater Russ to learn more about how Champions Round started, their future goals + advice and takeaways for founders looking to raise funds during this crazy time will all live in.
So without further ado – here are 6 questions Carter answered and kindly shared with us his most profound insights and experience from closing this round. Enjoy!
1. Why did you start ‘Champions Round’?
I definitely have a proactive personality. I absolutely love doing research, so when I come across a problem that is important to me I immediately like to see if anyone is solving it, or how others are approaching a solution. If the solutions are insufficient, inconclusive, or flat-out nonexistent, I tend to take it upon myself to make whatever that thing is that can solve the problem.
A goal that’s super important to me is clean energy and sustainability. I have these grand aspirations to one day start a cleantech NGO that researches fusion energy, renewables, battery tech, and food and transportation logistics. Largely the reason I mentioned above: The solutions are currently inconclusive. However I’m not there at all yet, and realize that in order to tackle these issues, first it will require a lot of capital.
So I started Champions Round for a couple of reasons. Firstly I love and play fantasy sports, and noticed that there are glaring issues with current products. They fail to address much-needed game modes, have terrible reward structures, and ultimately lack a true focus on communal play. My research found existing solutions insufficient, and that our ideas were non-existent. So, my co-founder and I sought out to build it.
The second reason, and most impactful of all, is that it allows me to build a revenue generating company so I can eventually apply my net-worth to solve bigger problems.
2. What is your big vision for the next 5 years?
We really want to become a leader in the future of sports entertainment. The 2020’s are bringing much change into the way we engage with sports, both globally and domestically. Technologies are becoming more immersive, sports betting is legalizing in the US, and Esports are really at their infancy. In 5 years we have the goal of turning Champions Round into the entire ecosystem for sports fans. We do this by building a global community that better attracts and retains fans of sports and Esports, interlaced with games that better serve the needs of users.
3. What are the lessons you have learned from closing this round?
On a personal level, I had no idea I was good at sales. Most importantly, however, is I’ve learned patience and persistence. I’ve become incredibly humbled.
4. How are you going to use the investment you raised?
We’re excited to have new resources, but it remains ever important that we stay resourceful. We’re expanding our marketing efforts substantially. This will allow us to first grow our product as we release our Version 1, which necessitates the value and importance of community management and customer support. Our focus for team expansion is all centered around community, and deploying the appropriate resources to ensure each of our users, whether existing or new, feels a personal touch as an extension of our brand and products.
5. What is your advice for startups raising money during this time?
Use LinkedIn! Never say no to a pitch opportunity, a networking opportunity, or a speaking opportunity. Accelerators are a great way to expand your network during this time, but COVID has made global networking significantly easier. It is no longer important that you live near the VC, and it is no longer required that you meet face to face. This is an amazing opportunity to expand your network. Also, do your research, and relish in the fact that, even if you hear a “no”, you’ve still gained a valuable resource, and someone to learn from.
Lastly, keep at it. There’s no greater feeling than when you change someone’s mind 🙂
6. What’s the best business advice you can ever give startups with 2 or more founders?
Trust each other, and pull your weight. Make sure there’s a clear delineation of responsibilities and skill sets, but always be willing to listen to your other founders. Don’t bring in founders just because they’re your friend. Bring in founders because they have a career and lifetime of skill sets that you lack, and are an asset to the mission.
Want to contact Carter?
Shoot him an email at: email@example.com
His LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carter-russ-15b98b68/
Visit Champions Round website: http://linktr.ee/championsround