In our latest North East tech startup spotlight we turn our attention to Hitmarker, the exciting video game industry job platform quickly becoming the go to place for all esports and video game job vacancies.
MD Richard Huggan chats to us as the Newcastle-based company today launches a second equity crowdfunding campaign to help fuel its expansion into new markets.
Hitmarker came to life when Rich’s younger brother, Phil, founded the company having been involved in the industry for around a decade. A graphic designer, gaming enthusiast and self-taught coder, Phil had owned a design agency delivering branding projects for those in the esport market and also launched Raven, a popular esports apparel design and manufacturing company.
In 2016 Phil saw the growing potential of esports. ‘He felt it had so much potential and allure. The industry was starting to experience the buzz that popular traditional industries like mainstream sport or the film industry have always had. People were so eager to get into the industry and become a professional gamer’, explains Rich.
‘Yet most of the esport opportunities were being made popular on social media and being done quite sporadically, there wasn’t one platform which existed that the community could turn to. Phil wanted to build a destination for them.’
This destination would become a reality when Hitmarker launched its first iteration mid 2017. Rich soon joined the business in the November of the same year and together the brothers took up office space in former Newcastle tech hub Campus North before its closure in 2018.
Pre-seed to Seed
2018 saw Hitmarker embark on an initial crowdfunding experiment to expand its service from being esports-specific to covering the wider video game industry too.
In just seven days the business reached 207% of an £80,000 funding target, helping to propel Hitmarker to double in headcount from five to ten full-time staff in total. Growth didn't stop there.
Rich adds: ‘Since our pre-seed round we’ve grown our revenue quarter-on-quarter and increased the number of jobs available on Hitmarker by more than 1,000%, to over 12,000, making it possible for even more people to work in the industry they love. We’re really proud of how far we’ve come!’
Yet Hitmarker’s ambitions extend far beyond the UK and European jobs market. The entrepreneurial brothers believe the platform can become the first global professional network dedicated to the video game industry, showcasing opportunities worldwide.
‘To help make this a reality we’re today launching a second equity crowdfunding campaign to the public. The capital raised will be used to roll out localised hiring platforms in new territories within Latin America, Europe, and Asia, as well as again growing the platform itself’ reveals Rich.
Hitmarker plans to hire at least an additional 10 staff over the next two years, enabling the roll-out of fully localised hiring platforms for the Brazilian, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese markets.