According to a Google-KMPG report, the Indian online gaming industry is expected to be worth $1.1 billion by 2021. With a projected user base of more than 628 million gamers, the Indian market has been attracting several gaming platforms. Starting Eleven – a live-action daily fantasy football app – is one of them. Teague Orgeman, CEO & Co-Founder of Starting Eleven, talks about the app, its unique features, the company’s future plans and the app’s journey from scratch. Excerpts:
What is Starting Eleven really about?
We are a fantasy football app available on both Apple and Google play stores and currently contesting in the English Premier League. We allow live substitution, which means when you select a team of 11 players while you are watching live matches, you can make substitutions as in real matches.
Real-life substitution is a really unique feature. How has been the response?
Before a tournament kicks off, there are a lot of changes happening in the line-up routinely. If you are locked into the formations yourself, it really ruins the experience for you. Now, if suddenly you realise that only five of your chose 11 players are playing, it’s very frustrating. We tried to take away that frustration by allowing users to pick what they want beforehand.
How do you see the opportunity for online gaming particularly for football in India – a cricket crazy nation?
It’s true but football is the second fastest growing sports in the country and the second most popular sports as well. Apart from the EPL, the domestic league in India that took off last year is doing really well. The growth opportunity in India is in football and we are happy to be part of it.
What kind of uptick have you see in subscriptions as compared to the initial months of lockdown and now when the games have kicked off again?
It’s growing much faster now. As a player in the fantasy sports space, it was a challenge for us because global soccer wasn’t happening and we needed live content to create content. Now, we have matches almost every weekend and even on weekdays for the rest of the year and they will continue till 2021.
What options does a gamer have in terms of the games he can play? Is it all free to play or there are paid options as well?
It’s free to download and free to play. We offer paid contests to the users and it’s really up to them to create a customized experience. We have single sign on and also sign up options through Google, Facebook or Twitter accounts. We have all kinds of contests; you can play against three people or nine people or find a one-on-one match against someone that you don’t know. You can create a contest yourself and invite as many people as possible to participate.
Are the games the same as they were pre-lockdown? Any tactical shifts by managers? Any tips that you can give to Starting Eleven users?
We created the app and the scoring system in a way that players across the pitch are relatively equal in terms of value. A defender and a forward player would be of equal value. This season, we are seeing the highest number of average goals per match. So, people are hunting for those high goal scoring events more. We are seeing more forwards being used. The substitution volume has also increased.
Any new product that is in the pipeline and which users can look forward to?
We recently released a feature called Mini Leagues. Through this, one can join an existing league through someone or invite his own pool of friends to play and it can be replicated every weekend.
Tell us about the journey of Starting Eleven.
I was a practicing lawyer and a huge soccer fan, so after practicing law for a decade, I decided to work on a fantasy football app. With some initial investment from friends and family, we designed an app and put it out in the hardcore football community for feedback. They let us know what they want and what they don’t. Live substation was a big piece of that as was the real-time score. We then built it and introduced in some markets and attracted few investors. We launched it in India in early 2020 and now it’s just on a path of growth.
Teague Orgeman – CEO and Co-Founder, Starting 11
On the Web: starting11.io
On Twitter: @Starting11app
On FB: @starting11fantasy
On Instagram: starting11app
Download for iOS: https://starting11.io/download-iosapp
Download for Android: https://starting11.io/download-android-s11