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leaping-tigerOur first NZ Startup of the Week is Leaping Tiger, a location-based friend finding app which lets gamers find other gamers to play against, team up with, or message with.

Amy Potter Jordan LilleyBased in Wellington, founders Jordan Lilley and Amy Potter started Leaping Tiger to solve their own problem.  Amy explains, “When you bring a new video game home, you are currently faced with two options – play with someone you know in real life, or be forced online into random online matchmaking with faceless strangers. Random online matchmaking has a whole host of specific problems – from people speaking a totally different language, people with terrible ping, and people who don’t have a headset when the game really requires one to succeed. There are also a lot of other factors that come into play here, where gamers would ideally love to meet someone new with similar gaming interests to them, who likes similar things to them, and plays at similar times to them – but until now there has been no simple and instant way to do that! We bridge the gap between totally random strangers, and real life friends, allowing gamers to discover those near them, playing the same games they do, and who are online right now.”

You might be thinking that Steam, Xbox, PlayStation and others all provide a way for people to connect, but Leaping Tiger claims that they’re the only cross-platform system to do this, and that because they’re much more user-centric than the big platforms, their recommendations are much better targetted and useful.

Leaping Tiger launched in May 2015, and four months in they already have over 6,000 users in 70 countries – they’re clearly building a community really quickly, and have great support.  They’re firmly focussed on a “global from day one” strategy, with the US and UK markets number one and two in terms of current user base, with NZ in third place.

Currently pre-revenue, they want to monetise in the short term through very specific genre- and location-based affiliate links, moving into freemium offerings and partner/sponsor rights.  They point out that the gaming industry is already bigger than music plus movies, and continuing to grow rapidly.

Leaping Tiger is currently raising a seed round through Angel HQ and ICE Angels to more deeply explore international markets and continue product development.  This will be their first investment, and they’d love to acquire overseas gaming industry connections at the same time.