It’s time to get your game on! Throughout our Founder Feature Series, we chat with the founders of the 5th Cohort of The Mentor Network to learn more about them as individuals, as well as their entrepreneurial journeys. They have some great wisdom and experience to share with the rest of the community!
If you’re a gamer, you should pay special attention because this week, we talked to Stephanie Smith, Cofounder of E-Sports Arena! E-Sports Arena is a Kansas City based gaming lounge that redefines your social gaming environment. With over 100 console gaming options, E-Sports is sure to provide you the ultimate all-star gaming experience. Get your game face on and check it out below to learn more about her journey and what to keep an eye out for!
What did you do before you were the Founder of your startup?
I’ve worked in a variety of industries, but most recently I was in sports, collaborating to make combined teams for different sports including basketball, football and wrestling.
Why this startup? A.k.a. what is your ‘why’?
I have always been a gamer, in some aspect. I would game competitively on xbox and playstation online against others. This definitely helped to widen my perspective and allowed me to really dive into the research of gaming lounges. It’s a growing industry, and for us, we wanted to be on the leading edge for this venture in Kansas City.
What was your first milestone/win that let you know you were on the right track to build this business?
When we were developing the concept we traveled to other cities to look at their models. At first, our idea seemed far-fetched to many, but working with other advisory teams, we were able to effectively show them industry trends and that the current market was untouched here [in KC]. This let us know we were heading down the right path.
Why did The Mentor Network stand out to you as a positive program to be involved with?
The Mentor Network seemed like a great program because it focused on other founders who had great ideas + mentors who could provide feedback without being a “Yes Man”.
What have your big wins been so far within The Mentor Network?
I’ve had the chance to meet with a few great people so far. Mike has been a huge help in planning. I was also able to get an introduction to an architecture company that does e-sports arenas. We’re excited to reach back out to them once we’re up and going.
How do you maintain sanity in this crazy, insane startup world?
A quick 20 minutes in the car seems to work for me! Brandon, my Cofounder, likes to watch sports.
KC has so many resources and people to help entrepreneurs. What are we still missing? What gaps do you think we need to fill?
Marketing the II and III tier – how to ensure it’s effective. Also how to reach your target demographics and maintain the push.
Regarding the KC startup ecosystem, what has been your favorite service/resource that you would like to share with other founders to take advantage of?
Brandon completed the Kauffman FastTrac program and it really boosted his knowledge.
If you could go back to the day you started this journey and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
Trust the process, stay patient, and always overcompensate for the unforeseen.
Also published on Medium.