This week’s Q&A Wednesday is with Games2U, an exciting new Austin-based company focused on creative entertainment. What’s that have to do with Austin Startup? Well, there actually is a lot of cool technology that goes into the company. So, we sat down with David Pikoff to find out more about the company and what the future holds.
Tell our readers a bit about Games2U… G2U combines two of the hottest entertainment segments; video games and laser tag and delivers them to the consumers’ doorstep. It’s an innovative and unique concept. Kids birthday parties are the core business, but the company also caters to church groups, school carnivals, corporate team building, promotions, and many other events. Our vehicles are designed as rolling billboards with a “cool factor” to them. They contain screens inside and outside with game consoles like Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 that are networked together, to allow interactive play. The vehicles are also equipped with high-tech laser tag guns that function in daylight or at night.
How’d you come up with the idea for such a cool company? We researched lots of concepts and franchises, centered our search on kid-related businesses. This segment is multi-billion dollar, but offers very few consumer options, and all but forgets about the “tweener” age kids. Despite our efforts, we couldn’t find a concept that excited us or was original enough. Instead, we combined all the best elements of what we saw and eliminated all the negatives of a fixed location facility, and then put our experiences to work to build our company.
Our concept offers a fantastic and unique experience for the consumer, and delivers it in an interesting and convenient format. And it eliminates the need for expensive retail space and build out costs, minimizes labor cost and eliminates it when it’s not in generating income. The average small business cannot afford effective advertising with the escalating cost of advertising these days; our concept creates rolling billboards for extremely effective advertising at virtually no cost.
There’s a lot of technology involved in Games2U… Games2U has built an extremely robust Operating system with massive capabilities including scheduling, the ability to easily manage multiple vehicles and territories, credit card management, data base management, trending and reporting, etc. Without the operating system (backend of the business) it would just a great idea with no way to manage it. Further, we have patented the design of vehicles for our specific use, integrated one-touch electronics, surround sound, customized seating, climate controlled environments, lighting experiences, with stow-away screens on the exterior and electric wind-sensitive retractable awnings.
You recently announced a deal with Findley Group (the group behind Curves). How’d that come about, and what does that mean for Games2U? We came in contact with The Findley Group when we were exhibiting at the Washington DC Franchise Expo earlier this year. Their success growing young franchise companies is unmatched; they built the Curves franchise from 4 locations to over 8,000 units, in just 8 years. They loved our concept and we hit it off with Gary Findley, and his team immediately. The Findley Group only represents a handful of concepts that they believe can grow to the hundreds or thousands, and they see a broad reach and appeal with both consumers and franchisees for us. With The Findley Group as our franchise development partner, sales of our franchises have begun to take off. Just last week, we got commitments for territories in West Palm Beach FL, Northridge CA, Whittier CA, and Katy TX. We are also in discussions for territories that include Plano TX, Tyler TX, Phoenix AZ, Salt Lake City UT, Provo UT, Jackson MS, McKinney TX, Toms River NJ, Washington DC, MD, and VA, among others.
As brothers, how does mixing family and business working out? We have searched for an opportunity to work together for a long time, but just didn’t know what the platform would be or when. The timing was right for both of us. We work very well together, capitalizing on each others’ strengths, and we probably have a better intrinsic feel for how each other operates than most partners would. The fact that we’re brothers allows us to be honest with each other and move through decision making processes quicker.
Where do you see the company in 3 years? We are in a rapid growth mode and expect to expand our company footprint exponentially. We intend to stay true to our founding principles; to be the leader in our market segment and to provide world class franchise support.