Where do gamers go when they’re in a slump? Insights.gg
The Vancouver-based esports startup is celebrating the millionth download of its training technology for gamers app.
If you’re an esports gamer and you happen to find yourself in a slump, how do you go about learning why, say, that trigger finger is feeling a bit sticky? If you were an athlete playing a physical sport, there’s a simple answer. Your next stop would be the film room. A video coach would have reels of game footage, showing you exactly where your issues are arising. You’d likely be joined by another coach, too. For example, if you were a baseball player mired in a rough, hitless string of games, your hitting coach would also be present, ready to take what you learned in the video room to the batting cage.
What’s the analog for esports, then? Enter Insights.gg. Insights crafts tech to find positive patterns in players’ games like killstreaks, or negative ones—games spent in a seemingly endless spiral of deaths and respawns. Artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning are all leveraged in the name of data. Insights also works with game developers to better stitch their learnings into game footage. It all boils down to a platform that helps gamers understand their performance through game footage with easy-to-use software.
Insights is built by gamers for gamers and is a fully bootstrapped company. Co-founder and CEO Kevin Ho smiles as he tells me that the startup brought together his passion for launching startups and lifelong free time spent gaming. Insights’ chairman and co-founder (Young J. Kim) previously built a professional esports team in Korea (Meta Gaming) that specialized in the team-based shooter Overwatch.
But the team found no simple technological answer when it came to improving and training their players. That’s when Insights was born. The company spent the better part of two years learning how to best leverage AI, and came to the conclusion that the biggest need was actually the ability to rewatch old games and record new ones. Bake in some data analytics to provide stats on kill and death patterns and it becomes hard to resist.
Insights went live with a Beta version in December 2020 with 100 daily users. That gave the team the confidence to officially launch the app in March 2021. It turned into a hit. That exclusive group of 100 has ballooned to 125,000 daily users while the app itself recently surpassed the 1 million download milestone.
The team has proud Vancouver roots. Ho shouted out The Gaming Stadium and the Vancouver Titans during our chat and the Insights co-founders also have roles with Akshon Media, another local esports entity. Despite this local flavour, Insights has global ambitions. It sees users in the United States and Turkey, plus the Korean esports roots of its chairman. The easy-to-use nature of its software supports this international vision.
It all begs the question: How is the Insights team ensuring that this growth is sustainable?
Insights was averaging 6,000 downloads per day when Ho and I chatted in early March. A lot of those come organically from app stores, he tells me. “We've done some influencer and sponsorship marketing in the past, but our user acquisition cost is really, really low,” Ho continues. He further details that the company's philosophy is built upon taking a product-led growth approach, meaning that the product has to naturally incentivize users to share with others and collaborate. Word of mouth seems to be positive for Insights.
Ho likens this whole startup thing to gardening.
“Building startups is really like planting seeds. It takes time before you see any growth and any results at all. You need patience and trust that you're moving forward. You also need to know what seeds you're planting and what you're trying to grow. I guess, if you try and go after a market which is highly competitive, and you don't really have the resources, it doesn't make sense. But, if you know that the market needs it and there's a pain point, trust your gut and build it. Things will just naturally work out.”
With Insights now seven figures strong, things certainly have worked out so far.
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