I am a startup founder from Toronto, Canada with a background in user experience design. I’ve started a few projects over the last few years, not limited to just technology. My last business was a food delivery company that ended up being offered a deal on CBCs Dragon’s Den but the startup ultimately did not work out.
I got the idea to build Huddle during one of our regular game nights with friends. My friends and I enjoy simple card-based party games but a common problem was that we would run out of content pretty fast, given the game box could only hold so many cards. So I set out to build a digital platform that could contain a variety of casual group games to be enjoyed by anyone at a social event.
The problem I am trying to solve with Huddle is offering a convenient extension to popular board and card games, where a lack of new content can became a real bottleneck. One of the main complaints online about tabletop card games is the content can get stale fairly quickly and lose replay value. Our target audience is casual players who aren’t particularly gamers but still want to play a group game together. Where other services target more serious gamers, Huddle was built to be easy to pick up and and play for friends, families and even co-workers. We don’t want anyone to be excluded.
Beyond just looking at a problem to solve, I ask myself What value am I trying to provide? Our goal is to build a high quality library of social games that brings people together, which is what matters in the end.
From idea to launch
I started out by building a simple landing page explaining how the platform would work, and showed it to people I trust would give me honest feedback. I then designed and built a simple group trivia web app with my co-founder Steve, as a way to show how the platform would work. We ran a few games with small groups at parties and collected feedback. We eventually built a couple more games based on feedback while making enhancements and fixing bugs along the way.
We started rolling out the platform slowly. The goal was to get feedback, observe how people interact with the platform, and gain insights into what to build next. We started offering Huddle to companies for use during their team building events. We had over 50+ different teams play Huddle with groups of up to 35 people at once, and received positive feedback.
Eventually we launched it on Product Hunt to a pretty positive response as well, which helped expose Huddle to a bigger audience online.
The long run
We keep promoting Huddle via word of mouth, social media and on subreddits that are relevant to our niche. We haven’t done any paid advertising as the main goal is still to collect feedback, find product-market fit and improve the user experience.
We’ve also begun talking to independent game creators about adding their game to the Huddle platform and helping both Huddle and the creators discover a new player audience.
Our current business model is to offer a freemium platform that can support a limited amount of players, while giving players the option to upgrade to a subscription if they want to run Huddle at larger events that can support hundreds of players at once.
While we offer free games and content packs, we are also introducing more premium game packs that are loaded with content and cost less than traditionally printed game extension packs.
Follow your interests
The biggest tip I can give other makers is to choose a niche, market, or community they genuinely find interesting.
I love playing social games with friends so I’m motivated to build something that my own friends and other groups of people would be interested in. This makes it easier to keep going when things get hard or I feel stuck.
There are people who choose projects based on things like profit margins or market size. This can work if you’re extremely disciplined and have the skills to pull it off, but it can also make you feel demoralized if the project fails.
I believe that when you are building something for yourself and have a bigger vision for what you want to achieve with your product, it’s easier to iterate or pivot if things do not work out.