CoonPaw Studios Launches IndieGoGo Campaign

The main deterant to starting a gaming studio, as with any business, is cost. There’s the equipment costs, but then the unexpected expenses that come up nearly every day. I’ve encountered all these in my attempts to get started with my own independent game studio, Coonpaw Studio.

My development platform of choice is the Clickteam series of products because they’re easy to use. I started with their product “Klik & Play” and have worked my way up to the recent Multimedia Fusion 2, which costs about $500 for the license needed to sell your product. The web hosting is about additional $300 annually for a decent host with enough bandwidth to handle the traffic of at least 1,000 users daily.

I also use sound bytes online from sites such as Flashkit.com. While there are a lot of “free” sound loops, sound effects, music, etc out there, you’ll find very quickly that this is only for “Personal Use Only”. Should you commercialize your product, companies want a flat payment for a single 30-second sound loop, while others expect a 2-3% royalty from your game’s monthly revenue.

Artists can be quite costly depending on the needs of your game. Even a mediocore artist will soak up your budget. There are art assets available on the Internet, but similar to music, they will expect royalties and payment for commercial use.

Last but not least, there will be a lot of miscellaneous tools, such as a commercial install program generator. If you simply slap your game in a zip file, nobody will bother extracting it to a folder somewhere on their system.

So what does this really amount to? Starting out in our example here, we need $500 for the engine and license to commercialize your end product, as well as $300 for a domain name and web hosting with decent bandwidth for your needs. We’ll also need three sound effects – another $300. Then bundle all that with an artist for one game’s assets I don’t have skills to make personally, we’ll say an additional $500. Already you are pushing a $1,600-$1,700 budget. And this doesn’t count time investment.

If you are the sole individual at your studio, then you’re done. If you require helping hands, an additional staff can easily come to another $2,500-$4,000. Fortunately, I’m a single game developer.

Wow, $1,700. Where is that money coming from? I had to look into fundraising solutions. I originally thought of Kickstarter. “Sorry, we don’t allow startups to have a Kickstarter, only projects.” Ouch. I continued looking and ran smack into the brick wall, hammer and chisel in hand that is IndieGoGo, which allows anything as long as you’re passionate.

How is the IndieGoGo fundraiser working out for me so far? At the time of writing this, I have $40 from contributors with 39 days left. This means there are people out there that care about what I want to do. Complete strangers who want to help me in turn for the small benefits I can provide.

This is my dream, I want to become an Indie developer and I’m definitely up for the challenge. Will you be up to the challenge for your own dream?

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Local Arizona Startup Seeking to Enhance the Arizona Nightlife Industry

logotipoBarSential b15256b0c6f68b9a608d8b332a61b2fa Local Arizona Startup Seeking to Enhance the Arizona Nightlife IndustryThe two founders of BarSential, John Rushworth and Eytan-Ben Yeoshua met as members of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, while attending the University of Arizona, in Tucson. While they socialized and went to various nightlife venues around the community, they began to notice inefficiencies in the nightlife space and the current companies trying to serve their needs. “As consumers, we realized that printing or scanning coupons were not fast or effective in bars and clubs,” Eytan notes. Having worked in bars, John identified problems on the merchant side, “As a merchant, you want the output control and the offers that are published to be favorable to your business, not the business providing the coupon solution.” This research led John and Eytan to develop the initial concept for BarSential.

The two founders realized that technology was the solution to many inefficiencies they saw within the nightlife scene in Tucson and wondered if these occurred anywhere else. After college, John and Eytan went their separate ways. John worked full time for a major corporation while Eytan continued with school. Both had the continual entrepreneurial itch to jump back into the project. They started from scratch and spent several months re-focused the concept. “Having realized that bars all over Arizona and the nation have inefficiencies, we decided to launch BarSential.” John notes.

BarSential hopes to boost sales in bars, clubs and late night eateries by allowing them to publish offers anytime, rewarding existing customers and attracting new ones. BarSential increases turnover for bars through our patented redemption process and provides merchants a trackable solution to couponing that they control.

Consumers can purchase and redeem offers from their phone, no printing or scanning necessary. Consumers get access to exclusive discounts and can save time by paying with BarSential. BarSential is looking to enhance the Arizona’s nightlife communities overall experience.

These benefits give BarSential’s co-founders and six advisors the confidence needed to succeed. They are launching at the end of July and have already gained significant interest from establishments throughout Arizona. You can learn more about this community-focused startup by visiting their current campaign page, indiegogo.com/BarSential

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City Recess

cr logo clock check cafelatte agree2 300x90 City Recess

City recess is reinventing the event discovery and sharing experience. Find new events that interest you, add them to your calendar and let your friends know about it.

According to Bradley Matson,

“We’re on our third mini-pivot that developed out of customer interviews and cold hard data. It’s difficult to comb through all the event offerings and we saw a need for an application that would collect the information for thousands of events in your city and allow you to make plans, share, and enjoy what your city has to offer. Also, my wife and I met at a local Film Festival and this meeting wouldn’t have taken place if not for the power of fun local events.

We’ve begun to develop traction in the event app space by building white label applications for local festivals (AZ SciTech Fest) and are currently building our MVP for City Recess as we continue to study our customers.

We’ve received some great advise from our team of mentors as well as some of the Gangplank Chandler crew.

We’re always looking for ways to learn and improve our business and this seemed like a great well to get some quality assistance. And it’s free :)

The City Recess Team:

Warner Onstine (Co-Founder) is a ninja coder who’s worked with Intuit, U of A, and rSmart.

Bradley Matson (Co-Founder) is a biz dev hustler who has a background in brick-n-mortar entrepreneurship and real estate.

Ted Graf (Design) is a graphic designer and taco enthusiast with the cutest daughter on earth.

Leo Pryzbylski (Development) is a master hacker, who is rumored to code for anonymous in his free time.

Nora Simmons (Development) is an old school coder with made skills

Sara Onstine (Copy Editor) is a grammer nazi and book worm

Kirsten Matson (Community Mgmt) is a social media master with ultra friendly customer relationship skills.

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IcoText

dierk 300x279 IcoTextDierk Seeburg recognized the need for localized iPhone apps and with a background in technology and localization, he felt he could meet this need. According to Seeburg, “IcoText offers localization services to iOS app developers and development companies including customer support.”

Seeburg is hopeful that Roadmap to Launch will improve his chances of a successful startup launch. As the sole member of his Roadmap to Launch team, he  acknowledges he has the support of his wife in this endeavor and is grateful for the help he has received from his Roadmap classmates and Gangplank advisers.

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SKRITTLE

BlueOnRedCirclesGrayBackground 300x300 SKRITTLEBen Hall’s vision is to create a “new way to discover websites and surf the web”. With the abundance of information available to internet users, Hall seeks to create a site that will broaden users knowledge of content available by suggesting sites based on their individual taste. Hall is currently working on creating a viable product under the business name Skrittle.

You can check out SKRITTLE at www.skrittle.com.

Hall hopes that Roadmap to Launch will provide him with accountability in completing his project and further his education on topics relevant to startups.

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Just Ran it

016 web2 1 199x300 Just Ran it

Inspired to improve his health after losing his father, Stuart Preston, began running four years ago.  After running 14+ miles the day of PF Chang’s Half Marathon just to keep up with his fellow runners, he states “It hit me then, that I wish I had a site to log my runs and see what my running friends are up to.” Thus the idea for www.JustRanIt.com was born.

JustRanIt.com is a website designed to keep the recreational runner engaged with his/her training and racing program.  Runners will be able to log runs, compete with friends, and get recognized for their hard work.   Unlike many existing sites for runners, JustRanIt will focus ONLY on running, make recommendations on races to run, and cheer on the runner as he/she adds miles to their weekly and monthly training.

Preston is the sole member of the Just Ran It Roadmap to Launch team. However, his 16 year old son has been patiently teaching him Djanjo, Python, CSS, and basic web application development. He gratefully acknowledges, “There is no way I could have taken this on without him. I’m one proud dad to have such a great mentor for a son.”

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For those interested in signing up to be a beta tester, visit www.JustRanIt.com.

 

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Healthful Impact

As we go into Startup Weekend Chandler’s Extreme Pitch event next Tuesday August 30th, it’s important to remember that the founders of these companies aren’t just doing this to make money. Many of the participants are drawing from their own life experiences in order to use what they’ve learned to help others.

One such participant is Char Surratt, who transitioned from her original health-based community-building Startup Weekend idea to a company, Healthful Impact, that will help educate, coach, and empower people to achieve their individual health goals through simple and sustainable lifestyle changes.

Why Healthful Impact? Char explains:

“I am a true foodie of the Standard American diet. I use to wear size 18 until I adopted a 100% whole food and raw vegan diet. I have battled weight my entire life, always sick with flu, pneumonia and physical pain, etc. Yo-yo diets of various kinds, weight loss pills and shots were my lifestyle norm. I was soon on my way to earning the other nutritional related diseases such as diabetes hypertension and stroke, the kinds of ailments that are prevalent in my family, friends and community.”

Char’s methods were so successful that she even won the 2011 Gangplank Fatoff by losing 20 lbs during the competition. She hopes that her personal success will inspire others to adopt the same healthful habits so that they may also experience the positive impacts.

Look for Char to show off her healthy physique and share her business ideas next week at Extreme Pitch!

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The Write Zone

Three years ago, twice-published young adult fiction writer Celise Downs decided she wanted to give something back to her community of readers. A series of events in her life naturally led to the creation of The Write Zone, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring young authors, ages 11-18, develop their creative and writing abilities in both educational and fun ways.

The Write Zone The Write ZoneCelise participated in Startup Weekend Chandler at the end of June to help move the development of the organization along, and will also be looking for investors during the Extreme Pitch event on Tuesday August 30th. She recently shared her story with us:

“The idea for The Write Zone started around 2007-2008. I had had my own publishing company, Gemini Mojo Press, for a couple of years where I self-published my first two books, Secrets and Kisses and Dance Jam Productions. Around that time I was thinking that, as a writer of young adult fiction, I wanted to find a way to give back. I thought what better way to do that than creating a publishing company for teens; And Youthful Wisdom Press was born. In the process of promoting the company, I came across 826 National and became really excited about their concept. I thought that was an even better idea than the publishing company, but didn’t know anything about the nonprofit sector (well, except from a volunteer standpoint). I figured I would have to learn from the ground up and I saw it as a sign when my best friend told me about Prescott College and their…unusual form of education. My mind set, I closed YWP in April 2009 and registered for undergrad school at Prescott soon after. My plan was to graduate and work for a nonprofit for a year or two before opening my own, just for the experience. I heard about Gangplank from my best friend as a possible venue to hold her going away party. While browsing the site, I read about Startup Weekend Chandler, took a couple of days to think about whether or not I wanted to participate, and the rest is history.

I’ll be graduating from Prescott in Sept 2012 with a degree in Nonprofit Management. I’m a big believer in signs. I wasn’t expecting to open my nonprofit for a few years, but participating in Startup Weekend Chandler and meeting Daanon [DeCock] was like a flashing, neon, Vegas-big sign that I couldn’t ignore.”

At Startup Weekend Chandler, Celise gained Daanon DeCock as her Co-Executive Director of The Write Zone. Daanon is an active Gangplank member and was planning a writing workshop for Gangplank Jr. The two decided to become collaborators in their like-minded endeavors, and turned the event into a series of workshops under The Write Zone “umbrella.” They also got the organization’s website off the ground during the 54-hour event.

During the 60-day Roadmap to Launch challenge following Startup Weekend, The Write Zone has also gained a new Board Secretary, Sheila Blankemeier, and has actively begun seeking a Treasurer and advisory board members.

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Patience pays off

Not all businesses that come out of a Startup Weekend are tech-related products. Many of the attendees have ideas for nonprofits and companies in service-related industries. Rev. Marvin Brown came to Startup Weekend Chandler to work on his passion project, MindfulnessPractice.

marvin0001 reasonably small Patience pays offThe idea for MindfulnessPractice originated nearly 12 years ago, but it took Startup Weekend Chandler to kick it into gear.

After talking with some of the mentors, Marvin took some of their advice and put together a website, as well as outlined a six-week class on Mindfulness. Since the weekend, he has been able to add four more people to the team and put together the skeleton of a business plan.

“I have had the help of three of the mentors, which has been priceless,” said Marvin. “As a result, I have changed the direction of the business in a much simpler way.” As Marvin likes to describe the change, he was trying to “sell the store, instead of what was in the store.”

Marvin is still waiting to see where the project will lead him, but is happy he’s taken the first step. “No matter what the outcome, I will have created some great memories and am able to say I acted on my dream.”

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Fostering local farm/foodie connections

Not only do you need to eat more broccoli for your health, you need to eat more broccoli in order to save the world (and your local tax base).

264269 110464685713118 106437852782468 96444 1267214 n 1 300x200 Fostering local farm/foodie connectionsDerek Slife and Chris Wharton brought their new organization, Chow Locally, to Startup Weekend Chandler in order to develop this farm-to-table marketplace into a force for good health and good business.

Chris, an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition Program at the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, and Derek, a software engineer who loves cooking, aim to provide a network to bring locally grown, seasonal fresh foods from the farm directly to you.

Launching August 8th, users will be able to search lists of available fruits and vegetables, as well as place an order for what you want to eat when you want to eat it. Local farmers are then logo 3 Fostering local farm/foodie connectionsengaged to harvest your choices on the Friday after you order. Your order is assembled for pickup at the Phoenix Public Market on Saturday (more pick up sites to be added after this pilot period).

Lowering your carbon footprint while supporting local farm businesses keeps your grocery dollars in your community, supporting your local municipal services, as well as the quality of your environment. The Chow Locally community also features sources for recipes, eating healthy and updated nutrition news. Chow Locally also welcomes your participation and suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on their launch (as well as learn the difference between yams & sweat potatoes) on the website. The team has also put out a podcast explaining more about the program and why they created it.

Join the Broccoliterati. Chow Locally: save time; order fresh fruit & veggies on a weekly basis. Know exactly what you will receive each week and conveniently shop multiple local farms.

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