A self-described nerd turned entrepreneur, Tyler Schrodt took his intense passion for gaming and founded a growing business. His company, Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF), aims to combine the "best aspects of the NCAA and ESPN to bring eSports programs to colleges around the world."As a 2015 graduate of StartFast Venture Accelerator, Tyler along with his company’s core team, Rockie Hunter, Andrew Cutter, and Josh Roberts, went from slowly gaining traction to accelerating in a new market space. Below, he shares some of the lessons he learned from the program, and a few words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs.
Tyler described his concept of mentorship to be "abstract" before he found his mentors through StartFast. Having successfully launched and sold a company previously, he was aware that having a mentor support network would be beneficial."We [Tyler and his previous business partner] knew we were supposed to have people to lean on when we were struggling," he said. "But we were young and unconnected, and didn't know how to reach out."Once Tyler and his EGF team joined StartFast, he explained that he started off with a long list of questions which allowed them to sift through the nuts and bolts of the company. "We learned how to present ourselves and communicate the value add of our business," he said. "That's what helped us launch into this really cool network."Though the number of mentors available to coach entrepreneurs in the esports space is extremely small, the team found several through StartFast that they continue to work with, including Brian Corrigan of Odd Networks, and Steve Raines and Steve Kiernan of VCAMP.Tyler added, "You may not get the exact answer from your mentors, but you're led through a process that will help you find it."
The deep connections Tyler and his team made at StartFast allowed them to hyper focus on their desired markets and potential revenue streams.Tyler had originally anticipated targeting their service to college students, who would then pay the company directly, but realized after a few weeks into the program that they actually needed to set their sights on college administrators."We had this broad spectrum of ideas when we started, and there were so many possibilities for us to explore," Tyler said. "After we joined StartFast though, we understood what our true path was."
Noting that he doesn't pretend he can do it all himself, Tyler described his core team dynamics as being extremely important for success."Remember to give enough time to focus on culture of company," he replied, when asked what advice he'd give to budding entrepreneurs. "Business is built on people, and it's sometimes easy to forget that when you have a million things you need do."
After the team gained a better understanding of their market and potential revenues streams post-accelerator, EGF began employing their business model this past December. They're set to close their first contracts this spring, and are looking forward to expanding in the US and beyond.