This week, the University of Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club announced the winners of its incubator space competition writes Guest Blogger Hilary Singer. First place: Edinburgh entrepreneur Josh Wilson and his start-up gaming magazine SquareGo. The competition, sponsored by the Abbey Santander Group, offered local entrepreneurs the chance to win up to £2500 worth of office space.
Thomas Larsen, Enterprise Manager for SquareGo, said the company is very excited. “We’ve been working out of apartments and cafes for a year and a half,” he said. “Most business gets done at 2:00 a.m. It gets boring and frustrating after a while.” Without a physical office, SquareGo staff have been running to Juice Monkey to print documents, and holding meetings in pubs.
“It will be nice to have a space for keeping company documents,” Larsen added. “We’ve been using Josh’s bedroom floor.”
Larsen said the company has accepted the prize, and will be moving into the Edinburgh Technology Transfer Centre at King’s Buildings [Edinburgh University's Science and Engineering campus] next week. Visitors are welcome, said Larsen, “but tell them to bring frisbees and bean bag chairs.”
SquareGo is the only free, independent gaming magazine in Scotland. Since launching, the company has posted nearly 500 articles to its website, and stocked its monthly magazine in Gamestations nationwide. This month, the website will get more than 100,000 hits.
The company has also developed a strong internal following, with more than 20 active writers, editors, and a web developer—all volunteers.
Wilson founded SquareGo in 2008 with the aim to “provide a new voice on the videogame review circuit, providing short, sharp, intelligent reviews in a jargon-free, accessible manner.” Larsen, a long-time friend of Wilson’s, joined the team soon after.
“Managing staff is a completely new experience for me,” said Larsen. “It’s hard to convey what you’re thinking without sounding too authoritative. You want to engage them to make them feel part of something bigger.”
SquareGo is currently exploring new ways to engage readers and distribute content. Wilson is travelling in Cuba and could not be reached to comment about the company’s plans, but Larsen said the team had approached an iPhone developer about creating a SquareGo application, and also said the website was under redevelopment. “Like everyone else,” he said, “we’re struggling with the fact that print media is dying.”
Still, Larsen said, he enjoys the challenge. “My number one job is keeping Josh on track. After that, I like thinking about different ways to be creative for the least amount of money.”