Matthew: Hi. This is Matthew Wise, founder of FounderLy.com. We empower entrepreneurs to have a voice and share their story with the world, enabling others to learn about building new products and starting companies. So with great pleasure, I’d like to introduce Adam Archer.
Adam is the founder and CEO of GamesThatGive. GamesThatGive is a gaming company that combines the best of casual gaming and charitable giving to create the leading social platform for engaging audiences with leading brands and generating money for charities while people play games. So before we get started I’d like Adam to give us a brief bio so that our audience can know who you are.
Adam: Yeah. Well, first of all I want to thank you Matt and Andy for putting this together. It’s a great opportunity. So my bio, well, I’ll start off with my college days. I come from a technical background, studying computer engineering, and I took off after college. I worked for a little while. I took off and I went backpacking, and I was supposed to backpack for a couple months.
I actually ended up backpacking for about two years overseas, and I went all over the place, went through South America, good parts of Asia, good parts of Southeast Asia, and parts of the Middle East, obviously Europe. I finished up, and I did an eight-month overland trip, where I went from Istanbul down to Cape Town.
Matthew: Oh, wow.
Adam: So that sort of set the stage a little bit for the career that I put together afterward. But I came back to the States, and I wanted to do something more socially responsible, but of course I had a technical background. So I just went on with my career, and I worked at Microsoft as a software engineer. I transitioned over to Apple, where I worked on the operating system as a software engineer. After that I decided that it was time to start GamesThatGive, but I’m sure we’ll get into that. So that’s a quick bio on me.
Matthew: Okay. And so what is GamesThatGive, who’s it for, and why are you so passionate about it?
Adam: Yeah. So GamesThatGive, we combine charitable giving and brand engagement and social gaming. So the basic premise is we all know how big gaming is, right?
Adam: It’s absolutely huge. Forty percent of all people on Facebook play games every month, according to Facebook. So if people have the opportunity between playing a game that gives to charity and one that does not, which one are they going to choose, assuming that the quality of the game is the same?
Matthew: Right, right, that makes sense. And so in terms of a little bit more about your story, was there some sort of specific moment that inspired you to start GamesThatGive? Were you always a gamer? How did you get to that point where you actually said, “I’m going to launch GamesThatGive?”
Adam: Yeah, that’s a great question. So there actually was a point. After I did these kinds of jobs, I finished up in South Africa, I started making my way through Africa, and I flew back to the States. I actually flew in for a friend’s wedding.
Adam: And the wedding happened to be in Las Vegas. So after not seeing a television or an ice cube for months, for camping and hitchhiking, I flew back to Las Vegas, and I landed in a casino. And so I’m literally walking through a casino with my backpack after coming from a place where people have nothing to a place where people are literally throwing their money away. Imagine you’re walking, you’ve got the loud carpet, the ching, ching, ching, you hear that, and you’re just amazed that people are throwing their money away, where you come from this place where people have nothing.
So I started to think about ways we can help some of these people that I had seen, but I wanted to do it in a new and different way, some way that just totally breaks the mold, something that could potentially be huge.
Matthew: Right, right.
Adam: And so I started going around and talking to people.
Adam: And I say, “Why are you not doing more to help the charities that you believe in or the people that need your help?” Right? Here in the States I want to ask these people. And it was such a naÃ¯ve question to ask, right? But their answers were pretty fascinating, because everybody basically has the same answer to that question, right?
Everybody says, “Adam, you know, I really want to help other people more, but, you know what, I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money.” Or, “You know what, given the time and money that I do have, $5 here, right, the ten minutes there, I don’t know the best way to help. So, you know what, I don’t even deal with it anymore. I’m really busy. My job keeps me busy. I’ve got kids, etc.”
So I started to think about ways we could use existing behavior to help other people to help charities, right? Because if you use existing behavior you get rid of, “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money.” So what’s a great way of using existing behavior? What’s up and coming? What’s blowing up? It’s gaming. It’s casual gaming. So if you can integrate charitable giving into gaming that was the opportunity, the great opportunity, the big vision. And so walking through that Vegas casino it started making me think about that.
Matthew: I like that. I think that most people–you probably share the same view–are altruistic by nature. And so with GamesThatGive you’re actually empowering people and giving them a tool to seamlessly give on a micro level, but on aggregate it starts to build up.
Adam: Yeah. So it’s a micro donation model, right? And there’s so many interesting ways you can integrate charitable giving into gaming. I’m not going to go through our secret special sauce, but you can imagine that there’s a score in a game, and there’s a great many ways you can integrate that score to how socially responsible you are.
Matthew: And so in terms of time frames, when did you launch? And then the other question, or maybe a question before “when did you launch” is from the time that you can see the idea to launching, how much time is that and then when did you actually launch?
Adam: Yeah, so we conceived of the idea in early to mid-2008. We put together the paperwork for the company, and we launched the company in late 2008. We didn’t launch the Website until summer of 2009. We kind of went around, started recruiting partners, non-profits, brands. We launched in 2009 with some really great, wonderful brand partners, folks like Domino’s Pizza, folks like Dial soap, and they’ve been with us the whole time.
So we launched our initial website. We’ve been rolling out new product additions throughout 2009, 2010. In late 2010, we rolled out our Facebook platform, which is really just performing terrifically for us. So when you can combine social gaming with charitable giving there’s just so many opportunities there.
Matthew: That’s nice. I mean, it’s always nice when you’re an entrepreneur to have (a) to give [marquee] to clients and customers and (b) to have them for long term. Yeah, it really validates what you’re building and what you’re providing they really like.
Adam: Yeah, that’s one of the things we’re probably most proud of, is not only are we raising money for charity, and we’re taking money from marketing budgets, not from foundation budgets, so this is money that never would have gone to charity before. And we’ve raised over $80,000 for charities since our inception.
This is money that never would have gone to a charity. It’s not like we’re taking it from charity and funneling it to another. So that’s one thing we’re most proud of.
And second is that our clients come back, and they’re really excited about the metrics. And we can talk a little bit of the metrics if you want, but just the metrics that they see in our games is awesome.
Matthew: Yeah, so let’s dig into that. I like how you said that a lot of the money is coming from marketing. To me it says you’re creating a lot of value for them. And so let’s dig into some of the social proof and the metrics and what’s going on now. What have you seen?
Adam: So let’s talk a little bit about a campaign we just launched last month, Docker’s, Docker’s pants. So we launched a beautiful game for them on their Facebook page. They see over 18 minutes of game play per visit.
Adam: Okay. They’re raising money for a wonderful cause, Habitat for Humanity.
Adam: Dial soap, on their Facebook page they see over 70 percent of their return visits are from gamers that are playing their GamesThatGive. So data like that is just so exciting for us, because we can show it to other potential clients and it shows real value.