It's Not the Game, It's Who You Play It With. Gamelancer Brings the Gig Economy to Gaming

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

It's Not the Game, It's Who You Play It With. Gamelancer Brings the Gig Economy to Gaming
  • L.A.-based Gamelancer, a two-sided platform to match top-tier gamers and personalities with users searching for teammates, launches Tuesday.
  • The founders, Razvan Romanescu and Darren Lopes, have raised $800,000 to build the platform and hope to begin a new round within 90 days.
  • Gamelancer offers gaming talent new ways to make money and users the opportunity to make sure their teammates aren't duds

Nine times out of ten, it seemed, Razvan Romanescu and Darren Lopes got unlucky. The online video game algorithms that matched them up with random teammates kept pairing them with duds: an "eleven-year-old with a broken microphone", for example, or "someone with no social skills." Conversely, the rare gem who played well and had an appealing personality made playing video games a lot more fun. Indeed, such rockstar teammates were the sort Romanescu and Lopes would pay to have on their team.

That's just what their new venture, launched Tuesday, enables.

Gamelancers are freelance gamers who are vetted by the company and who set their own price and availability for users to book them. Users can also set up their own requests – "Looking to pay someone $10 to help me level up my Fortnite skills," for instance – which the 'gamelancers' can claim. This two-sided marketplace is an opportunity, the founders say, to fill "a huge gap in the gaming space."

In addition to taking 30% of the transaction, Gamelancer's business model will also include advertising and ecommerce. The founders expect the average price to be set around $7 per hour.

Prior to making a stealthy beta version available earlier this month, the L.A.-based company had already gained 6 million social media followers. With 16 full-time employees, it has since registered about 6,000 users and approved 250 gamelancers.

Gamelancer raised $800,000 in a seed round led by New York-based Mayfair Global Ventures. The founders now plan to arm themselves with data to demonstrate growth in preparation for a bigger round, which they hope to begin within 90 days.

The company has attracted some notable talent to join its executive ranks. John Monopoly, who formerly managed Missy Elliot and 2020 presidential hopeful Kanye West (maybe?), is Gamelancer's Head of Talent. His job will be to attract notable names to the platform.

One of the founders' early tenets in forming the company was that "it's not the game you're playing; it's who you're playing with."

Users may want to link up with gamelancers for reasons that have nothing to do with the game itself, they noted. People may want to book notable personalities to simply socialize with while collaborating on a butt-kicking rampage, for example.

Gamelancer, which the founders say has 10 patent-pending technologies after having built its platform from scratch, has also brought in a former Uber marketer as its head of growth and a former Netflix product manager as its head of product.

The two founders themselves have track records of building businesses by cultivating big followings on social media, including Guff Media – a content company that claims to reach 500 million people a month – and 10PM Curfew – a fashion and beauty network that says it reaches over 500 million women per month across Instagram and TikTok.

"We know how to keep users engaged and give them a user experience," Romanescu told dot.LA.

Now they turn their efforts to gaming, one of their passions, with a grand vision.

    "We coined the term 'gamelancer' to be something as big as 'streaming,'" Romanescu said. "We're confident people will say, 'I'm a gamelancer for a living'."

    For the record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mayfair Ventures was the lead seed investor. The lead investor was Mayfair Global Ventures.

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