Written by: Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer
SFU’s 2020 Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition has announced their winners, with GameSeta taking the Idea Prize award. The competition supports new businesses founded by SFU students, staff, faculty, and recent alumni.
In the other competition stream, the top winner was Mala the Brand with the Venture Prize award.
According to the competition website, the entrepreneurs competed in a “series of pitch-offs” to be “judged by a panel of industry experts on the quality of their business concept, current progress and future plans, founder track record, [and] presentation skills.”
GameSeta co-founders Rana Taj and Tawanda Masawi discussed their venture further in a video interview with The Peak.
Taj, who is a mechatronics student at SFU, explained that GameSeta is “a one-stop solution” for in-school competitive eSports.
Co-founder and recent economics grad Masawi explained that through their “centralized web-application platform,” they run competitive eSports competitions and provide logistical features like statistics, game management, and supervision. Masawi added that GameSeta creates a “safe and inclusive community for kids to participate in competitive gaming while also developing problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills.”
Masawi said that he created the company out of his own fond childhood experiences with video games.
“[GameSeta] isn’t just an opportunity for kids to get integrated with eSports at school, it’s a way for them to have a vibrant community at school and also get recognised for competing in gaming.”
The competition is held by SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, a program that supports SFU students, staff, and faculty, and recent alumni’s early-stage ventures through “incubation, mentorship, office space, and access to the university’s vast entrepreneurship community.” Janice OBriain, director of the program, explained in an email interview that the program aims to empower “the next generation of SFU entrepreneurial leaders to transform the future with their problem solving, innovations and creations.”
The competition, OBriain said, is an “annual celebration of innovative ideas and ventures that spark from the SFU community” and that it provides “both the validation and resources to take their ventures to the next level.”
On GameSeta’s win, OBriain noted that in “the current COVID-19 world a startup like GameSeta has a very positive short term horizon [ . . . ] [we] are looking forward to helping the team achieve their venture goals.”
When asked about winning the award Masawi said that “it means a lot.”
“We spent about eight months to a year just doing a lot of research and testing our idea with users but winning this competition is really important to us because it provides us with a lot of validation [ . . . ] being picked as the top idea [ . . . ] shows that hard work that has been put behind the scenes by our huge team at GameSeta.”
Masawi hopes to “expand across Canada” in the future.
“Hopefully one day GameSeta will be in every single high school across Canada [ . . . ] The same way in which students have huge soccer tournaments and huge tennis tournaments [and] swimming competitions across provinces in Canada, that’s the same way in which we hope one day that students will be using the GameSeta platform.”