A 19-year-old Entrepreneur Explores New Gaming Platform
How old do you think a CEO should be? 40 years old, maybe 30 years old? How does 19 sound?
Angelo Damiano, a 19-year-old student of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, is the CEO and founder of PowerSpike an online game-streaming multichannel network made up of twitch gamers and content creators.
Most people know about Twitch, the online game streaming channel, but Damiano and his team are developing a new core technology that they believe can improve the online gaming experience for gamers and viewers. Their focus is on helping gamers brand themselves and quickly build large followings.
“We wanted to create a new type of MCN (multichannel network), and build for the next generation of branding,” Damiano said. “That’s how PowerSpike was born.”
Damiano said the content creators who join PowerSpike are his top priority. The company promotes its streamers through its network. “We give them benefits and value on top of giving them these branding deals and monitors,” said Damiano.
The solitary life that is often associated with gaming makes interaction hard. PowerSpikers will have new methods to interact with each other and share both game experience, and branding and promotion ideas. PowerSpikers can cooperate with each other to finish identical game tasks, and many veteran gamers also launch their own channels through which they provide game guides and development to gamers.
This has been a labor of love for everyone involved. It’s also been expensive. “I self-funded this program with $13,000, plus a lot of blood and sweat from my teammates,” said Damiano.
In addition, PowerSpike is a very different kind of company. In fact, while Damiano is the leader, the founders have never even been in the same room together.
“There’re only four of us, but we never met, everything is done online, and they put a lot of trust on me,” said Damiano.
A growing market
Watching people play online games professionally has been popular in Asia for years, but it’s now also gaining popularity in the U.S. The most popular platform is called esports, which features organized multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players.
“Last year, Esports’ viewerships grew more than 20% in the US, it has the same viewership as the final of NCAA basketball. We want to be part of that growth,” said Damiano.
If you think video games are boys gathered around laptops in their parents’ basements sipping on cola, you are sorely mistaken. Competitive gaming, or eSports, is a global phenomenon valued in the billions of dollars. However, for Damiano, it’s not about the money, it’s all about friendship. “The video game connect people,” said Damiano.