You are invited to either or both of the yearend Open Houses we are holding between now and the end of the year. On Thursday (12/26) the day after Christmas from 3 to 8 and again the Saturday (12/28) after Christmas from 1 to 6, at the great Appleton Learning Center in Bee Cave (shares the building with Starbucks on the HEB parking lot where Bee Caves Road meets highway 71).
You will be able to play the demo game, add yourself or friends to our playtesting community, learn more about the company and the opportunity to invest, or just meet some very interesting people!
Below I have reprinted our latest update letter on the company's great progress. I hope to see you next week!
(For a quick video overview of the company, please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InnyOYsGwpQ. We also have a PowerPoint slide show about the company available upon request.)
We are proud to report that Bigwig Games, Inc., has made very substantial progress in recent weeks.
In late October, we closed on a round of financing which totaled $107,500, selling 26,875 shares of Common Stock at $4 each. These funds have been used to continue developing our first game, Restaurant Bigwig, presently scheduled for launch on the iPad in the first quarter of 2014.
All of our stockholders were today granted warrants to buy additional shares at $10 through the year 2020, as promised in the recent offering documents, giving shareholders the opportunity to participate in the company’s future success.
We are launching another stock offering this weekend, and would like to raise between $100,000 and $250,000 in this offering which will get the first game launched. Since we know how busy the Christmas season is, we have added an incentive to invest early: the price is $4 through 12/31/13, and $5 thereafter. These shares will also be accompanied by $10.00 warrants expiring in 2020. I will be emailing you this offering memorandum in the next few days, with lots more details on the company and our progress.
For those of you in the Austin area, we expect to have another one or more of our open houses before yearend. These have drawn new players and investors to Bigwig Games. Watch for announcements on time and place. We also continue to invite you and your loved ones to become playtesters of the game – just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our outstanding advisory board, consisting of business and game experts, continues to contribute significantly to our success, and to add new members. Our most recent additions are Brett Hurt, accomplished entrepreneur and co-founder and Vice-Chairman of Bazaarvoice which went public in 2012; Gordon Logan, founder and CEO of Sports Clips, the nation’s third largest hair salon chain with over 1100 primarily-franchised locations; Preston Swincher, a public speaker who specializes in his own Millennial generation, and is an experienced “strategy gamer,” and Jason Tiefenauer, our graphic designer (described below).
The game itself is moving along toward launch very rapidly. We think it is going to be a great game, and a great looking game.
In November and December, we concluded agreements with our graphic designer, our website development contractor, our lead game publicist, and our manager of community development.
In this same period, I have had conversations with major business media editors, potential sources of data for our next and future games, and a leading shopping center developer about possibly creating a co-branded or other customized game for them using our methods for their industry. All of these conversations were highly preliminary and may not lead anywhere, but they started out strong and we will have many more like them.
At this time, I would like to crow a bit about the caliber of people we are attracting to the company. We have some superstars engaged, and this will contribute to our success! On the following pages, I have reprinted excerpts from the Private Placement Memorandum, describing our latest additions to the team.
As always, I solicit your comments and input, and invite you or your friends to let us know if you want to playtest the game!
Play Hard and Prosper
New Advisory Board Members
Brett Hurt is one of Austin’s most successful entrepreneurs. He began programming and founding the first of many enterprises at an early age. He earned a BA in Management Information Systems at the University of Texas’ McCombs Business School, followed by an MBA in High Tech Entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. After three years of consulting for Deloitte, in 1999 he founded Coremetrics, which rose to become one of the leading companies in web analytics, and was purchased by IBM in 2010. In 2005, Brett co-founded and led Bazaarvoice, now the world’s leading provider of ratings and reviews management services for online retailers and corporations of all types. Bazaarvoice went public in 2012 and trades on NASDAQ. He served four years on the Board of Directors of shop.org, the global ecommerce organization. Brett today serves as Vice Chairman of Bazaarvoice, serves on many boards of directors, mentors entrepreneurs, and oversees Hurt Family Investments. He Chairs the Boards at startups Shelfbucks and Compare Metrics. He is the present Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs Business School, and lives in Austin.
Gordon Logan, also an outstanding entrepreneur, holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1969 to 1974, he was a pilot with the US Air Force, followed by four years with Price Waterhouse as a management consultant. In 1980 he began his entrepreneurial journey in the hair salon industry, and in 1995 founded Sports Clips Haircuts. Today Sports Clips is third largest factor in the industry, with over 1100 franchised and owned locations across 45 states. Gordon was President of the International SalonSpa Business Network, ISBN, with 20,000 members, from 2008 to 2012. He is a noted speaker and recipient of many other honors and serves on the Board of the VFW Foundation. Sports Clips is consistently rated one of the best franchise organizations in the nation. In 2008, his 1928 Packard won a Best of Show award at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance auto showcase. Gordon calls Georgetown, Texas, in the Austin metropolitan area, home.
Brett and Gordon are both equity investors in Bigwig Games, Inc.
Preston Swincher graduated from Texas Christian University in 2009 with a BBA in Entrepreneurial Management and a BFA in Theatre. An accomplished professional public speaker, writer, thinker, and analyst of public affairs, he has headlined at events across the United States and Canada. Currently, he studies how the Information Age and world events are driving change in the American Dream, and how that change impacts the behavior of young employees, consumers, and voters. Preston’s work has appeared on several major media outlets, including CNN, and the Laura Ingraham program. His unique blend of research, rhetoric, and humor provides businesses and educators with the tools and information they need to build connections with Digital Natives. Preston is an ardent strategy gamer and has been one of Bigwig Games’ leading playtesters.
Jason Tiefenauer is our lead graphic and visual designer. Jason graduated Cum Laude in Graphic Design from William Woods University, and has played key app and graphic design roles at Rev Worldwide, TabbedOut, LatinWorks, NetSpend, and Premier Marketing. He has won numerous awards. But the best way to see his skill is to look at his portfolio, shown here: http://www.portfolio.jtiff.com.
Execution: Making It Happen the “Lean and Mean” Way
We have repeatedly used the phrase “lean and mean” to describe our approach to building our first game. What this really means is that we think you can start a potentially great company and attract and keep outstanding talent without big overhead, a fancy office, or a big payroll, all of which add to startup enterprise risk and often contribute little to creating great products and happy customers.
Lean means we get the most possibly productivity out of limited resources, and “mean” means we have the best talent possible, as described in the following paragraphs.
Restaurant Bigwig began as a game developed by Gary Hoover in spreadsheet form, then tested by our Advisory Board and others as a board game.
When we were ready to advance to an iOS (iPad) version, we were fortunate to link up with our lead developer and “Tech Bigwig” Erwin Mazariegos, who did an outstanding job converting Gary’s ideas to a playable prototype, which has now been played thousands of “game years” by a diverse group. Today Erwin is building the actual final game, using the mechanics and scoring systems tested on the prototype. He continues to play a key role in planning and managing the entire project.
The next addition to our team was graphic designer Jason Tiefenauer, described above. Jason has taken us from the very rough vision of the prototype to a much more polished look to the game. While this is a work in progress and is not complete, at the open house you can see the “before” and “after” of the game since Jason’s involvement.
With the design of the game making great progress, we then turned to “creating community” – bringing together our playtesters and other contributors, soliciting their comments and input, and preparing to serve a much larger and more diverse community once we launch the game in early 2014. For leadership in this area, we have turned to Dan Beaver, our new “Community Bigwig.” Dan has long experience in marketing, including key positions at Barnes & Noble, and in starting his own companies. But in recent years Dan has managed fantasy games for NASCAR.com, and played a key role in Yahoo’s NASACR coverage and activities. In these roles Dan has developed and managed the massive NASCAR game community, primarily using popular social media tools and sites. He provides content for sites ranging from CBS Sports and Fox Sports to AOL. He wrote and helped publish a Fantasy Racing Guide, maintains historical statistics, and created fanzines and web marketing campaigns. Dan came to us and expressed interest in our games and working with us, and we are delighted to have such an experienced game community builder and promoter on our team.
Our next step was to being work on our Restaurantbigwig.com website, which will be a key place for our players to “meet,” learn about the game and the restaurant industry, discuss strategy, and contribute ideas for game improvement. We have just signed a contract with Polycot Associates, an Austin firm with deep experience in social media and website design and creation. Lead strategist Jon Lebkowsky was an early proponent of web communities, beginning work in the precursors of social media in 1990! He helped create the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s first chapter in Austin and was associate editor of early webzine bOING bOING. He has helped companies ranging from Whole Foods Market to SXSW Interactive develop their community and web strategies. Our project manager from Polycot is Robert Matney, who has long experience in web strategies, working for everyone from Amicus to Apple. Robert has been featured at SXSW Interactive, Austin’s biggest annual event.
Key to Restaurant Bigwig’s successful launch will be an aggressive publicity campaign, which we believe is more cost effective than paid advertising. For this key role, we went to the top person in game promotion, Sean Kauppinen, the founder and CEO of International Digital Entertainment Agency (IDEA) in California. With over 17 years’ experience, Sean has launched more than 550 games on all major gaming platforms. After working for such industry powerhouses as Sony Online Entertainment and Ubi Soft, Sean started his own public relations and marketing agency, IDEA. He has been very active in major game organizations, and speaks and consults globally on games gamification. These days, he takes on a very limited number of key clients, and we are delighted that he loves our game idea and has agreed to be our lead game industry publicist. We will amplify his efforts with our own publicity oriented toward the world of business enthusiasts and journalists, a realm Gary Hoover knows well.
The preceding paragraphs indicate the caliber of people we have been able to attract to Bigwig Games. We are only at the start of what will be a most interesting journey, and we hope to add many more talented people to our community of consultants, advisors, contractors, partners, and employees. This is what we mean by “mean.”
These great people are supported by our outstanding, diverse Advisory Board totaling 13 people, who contribute in every way from financial structure decisions to game industry expertise. Our Advisory Board and everyone listed above is compensated in whole or in part with stock options, insuring they have an extra incentive to see Bigwig Games succeed, while at the same time conserving our cash. This is what we mean by “lean.”
Student of Business, Serial Entrepreneur, and Teacher of Entrepreneurial Thinking