Flashback to the mid-nineties, when you finally convinced your parents to get you a Game Boy Color for Christmas, complete with two whole game cartridges (Space Invaders and Pokémon Pinball, naturally). Who’d have known then that there would one day be people who make their living by live streaming video games to hundreds of thousands of subscribers?
Watching these live streams is so popular that the total number of people who watch others play video games online outpaces the combined audiences of Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and ESPN. Clearly, we like video games. But it has not always been an easy road for live streamers. For those who made it their full-time path, and even those who are still hobbyists, it was difficult to monetize their audience beyond a standard paid partnership.
Streamlabs, the newest HeadSpace member, is focused on bringing live streamers a new way to earn money. They’ve created a platform for streamers to process “tips” or donations from viewers who enjoy their content on platforms like Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and Facebook. Streamlabs also gives streamers access to overlays, chatboxes, mobile streaming, and other helpful tools.
Based on the fact that live stream viewers have a “higher average income than other gamers” and are willing to spend it on video game-related content, this model works. In fact, Streamlabs is used by 78% of the top Twitch and YouTube streamers.
With this success, the San Francisco-based company decided to acquire TwitchKit, a local startup, and open a Dallas office. Streamlabs then began work on a new offering – branded merchandise.
“We allow streamers to sell customized merch with [their] logo and designs and dropship it directly to their fans/viewers who purchase it,” says Geoff Garber, Project Manager of Merchandise for Streamlabs and co-founder of TwitchKit.
Garber is an entrepreneur in his own right, having manufactured and imported goods from overseas since he was 15.
“The business experience and relationships I developed over the years have definitely helped when pivoting to this industry and working for Streamlabs,” says Garber. “The founders, Ali and Murti, really put their trust in who they hire and give them the creative freedom to build things as we envision them, which was one of the main reasons why we joined [the team].”
That freedom has found a home in Dallas, which is becoming a hot spot for startups and entrepreneurs to plant their roots. Garber cites the affordable cost of living and lower cost of operating expenses as some of the reasons why Dallas is an attractive location for startups versus a more saturated market like Silicon Valley.
As for the future of the Dallas startup scene, he has some simple requests.
“I’d like to see more VCs, more tech companies, and more talent!” says Garber. “More places like HeadSpace that allow creative entrepreneurs to connect and operate would be great, too.”