Beta Byte: Lipbrau


lipbrauBeta Byte is a series underwritten by Bust Out Solutions for that early stage tech found somewhere between idea and traction.
Are you in this phase?

What is the name of the company and/or product? Where is it found online? &

What problem or opportunity does this solve for?

Lipbrau develops casual mobile games that enable players to interact in new ways remotely or in person on just about any mobile device. Players enjoy real-time multiplayer or turn based play, with added benefits for playing together in person. We’re going to give players a reason to share and discuss their favorite games in an innocuous, value-added way that will help new players discover our games without having to sift through the app store.

What is the full launch/release date planned?

We’ve been running closed tests of our first game, Hogstead: Dots and Boxes, since late Spring 2013 and plan for release in Fall 2013. Look to our website and Facebook page for the latest regarding our first full release.
Bust Out Solutions

Who is on the team?

Spencer Evans – Product Management and Engineering
MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the Carlson School of Management
BS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin

Zach Johnson – Marketing and Research
MBA in Marketing and New Product Development from the Carlson School of Management

Steve Kovalesky – Animation and Web Development
Studied Animation and Design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Tyler Law – Creative Direction and User Experience
Studied Animation and Design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Charlie Rota – Business Development and Strategy
MBA in General Management from the Carlson School of Management

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies is used?

Our client side mobile apps are built with Adobe AIR. They’ll run on just about any device, including web, but we’re initially targeting Android and iOS. AIR is serving our needs but we’re closely watching some of the other cross platform solutions including Unity and Mono.

Our server side is hosted by our partner, SoftLayer as part of their Catalyst incubator program. Server code was developed using java and an industry leading massively multiplayer online server framework.

The in-person play technology is being developed in house using native mobile extensions and we’re currently investigating patent opportunities.

What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?

The mobile app market is roughly $10 Billion with games accounting for around $6 Billion. Projections suggest 20% growth in the years ahead. We’ll enter the marketplace with a focus on trendy, casually-tech-conversant young professionals who make up around 50% of the revenue spent on mobile games.

Scaling is a difficult challenge facing almost all developers; strong social mechanics can complement a strong game, but word of mouth is still the number one way players bring new games into their playset. Our technology takes a new approach to driving in person play that facilitates word of mouth exchange.

What is your revenue model?

We’re following the free to play, pay for premium (AKA Freemium) revenue model. Revenue streams include advertising, expanding content purchases, as well as in app micro-transactions. We’re trying to steer clear of alienating players with obtrusive social mechanics and nickel-and-dime monetization tactics. There is clearly unrest about it in the casual gaming community. We hope to capitalize on that by finding the right balance for our target market.

What is your greatest strength?

We have a number of valuable knowledge based assets and a strong team, but we believe our play-based sharing and gaming-network technologies are our greatest strength. We’re leaning heavily on an acquisition and retention edge.

What is your biggest weakness?

The age old chicken and egg problem- one of the best ways to acquire players is to plug your new games in your existing games. We don’t have a strong presence in the app store yet, but we’re poised and ready to grow with our first launch.

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?

Community management and network engineering talent. We’ve built Lipbrau through seed capital and personal bootstrapping to date, but we may have to seek outside funding to acquire new talent.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We’re happy to have founded right here in Minneapolis through our MBA experience at the Carlson School of Management and we would like to thank all of our mentors, supporters, and funders to date.