Hey Everyone - Dez here from Apex Venture Studios. A quick update for you all, we rewatched Django a few weekends ago and it was actually really good. Is that relevant to this newsletter? Absolutely not, but given the world is still in a pandemic we thought we’d give you a suggestion on how to entertain yourself. That being said, today’s startup is also focused on entertainment, it’s called Banger.Digital.
Banger.Digital is a startup looking to make it easier to throw bangers, digitally. We talked to Banger Digital’s founder, Luke Barwikowski, about the company and what they’re doing. Luke is a former Michigan grad (Go Blue), used to attend tailgates in a full snorkel outfit, and worked at Workday right out of college. Two years in he’s quit his corporate (engineering) job, the full snorkel outfits (we think), and he’s living in New Zealand creating products like Banger.Digital for the world. We sat down with Luke to get an inside look on building a product like Banger.Digital in the middle of a pandemic.
APEX: Can you describe what Banger.Digital is?
Luke: Yeah of course, it's a better way to throw online parties or happy hours. It's a mix of a game and a video chat all in one, and a way to connect with your friends in a familiar way.
APEX: That's really interesting. What was the inspiration behind Banger.Digital?
Luke: Well, Pre-COVID I was working on a bunch of different projects but I knew that I wanted to capitalize on the change that COVID created. The idea kind of just came to me, I started building, hosted my own party, my friends loved it and it just went from there.
APEX: Got it. Can you walk us through the product a bit?
Luke: Yeah, when you enter the game, you can customize your character. I hired an artist to style a retro vibe, so it's kind of like an 8-bit arcade game. New video chats are formed next to the people you are close to in the game, and we're in the process of adding mini-games.
APEX: So you can walk around a digital bar, or environment, with your character and when you're close to someone else's character, a video chat opens?
Luke: Exactly, and when you leave them and go elsewhere a new chat will open.
APEX: Wow, really cool. And who would you say is your target consumer as of today?
Luke: The product clearly has a vibe/brand to it and right now I would say we're going after younger professionals and COVID responsible individuals. More or less people who still want to socialize, but in a responsible manner. With that in mind, we are also looking to bring more enterprise or small business customers on board.
APEX: How do you think about creating the appropriate branding for enterprise customers?
Luke: We've created an appropriate for work switch, as well as in general we're going after smaller startup style companies first. We want to win customers that probably are more small and relaxed and could adopt a product like ours.
APEX: Speaking of adoption, what do you view as the key levers for growing the adoption of Banger.Digital?
Luke: We need to finish the product first to get it to a truly MVP level. People are using it and enjoying it today, but I think once the mini games are up and running it will be truly at an MVP level. We listen to our customer feedback, and we get like 2 to 3 requests a day for mini games.
APEX: What's been the most challenging aspect of building Banger.Digital?
Luke: It was a technically challenging project, and the hardest project I've done to date. I'm pretty confident it would be difficult to recreate. On top of that, marketing and growth are a lot harder than what people give credit to. That aspect of the business has been pretty difficult too.
APEX: Where do you see Banger.Digital in the next 6 months?
Luke: I'm focused on growing it and working on it as hard as possible and seeing what happens. I don't have expectations for the product. I just want to put as much effort in to it, and normally when that occurs good things happen.
APEX: Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Luke: Read a lot. Put in work. Check your ego. Figure out who you are and be right mentally before you are ready to invest in your business.
TL;DR - Banger.Digital creates an online environment to join and host parties in a more realistic way.
Check out Banger.Digital here, and bask in the glory of the 8-bit Arcade vibes.