Have you ever sat at work, toiling away in the salt mines, and dreamt of running a tech startup – the next Google, Facebook, or even Pets.com? Did you grow up playing classic simulation games like Sim City or Oregon Trail? The The Startup Trail is for you – a mobile game that helps you learn about how to run a startup, but in a fun environment. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, a successful founder, or you’ve never done either, you’ll be interested in the Startup Trail.
Startup Trail requires you to make the hard business decisions startup founders face every day, like managing cash flow, securing investment, hiring and firing employees, managing a team, making product decisions, and attracting customers. In doing so, you get exposed to the best thinking about how to manage a successful startup, and an opportunity to practice it in a fun game environment.
Unlike most mobile games, we’ve got a social bridge to the ‘real world’ too. Your in-game startups will be represented on the internet in a mock “launch page,” and you can validate your real startup ideas by seeing if they attract social “Likes” through Facebook, which then also become in-game customers. You can also co-found startups with your friends, and compete with other customers around the world. And companies that make products for startups can get involved too, placing their products as options in the game which have tangible effects on gameplay, just like they’d effect a startup in real life.
If this sounds great to you, you’re thinking like the judges at Startup Weekend New York: Musing and Gaming, who awarded us 3rd place. If you’ve never heard of Startup Weekend, it involves a team of developers, designers, and business-folk coming together to take an idea that’s pitched on Friday night, into a thought out business plan, validated customer interest, and a working prototype by the end of the weekend 58 hours later.
So at the end of an intense weekend, our 60 second pitch for “Oregon Trail for Startups” became the 4-minute presentation you see here, along with a working prototype, mapped out game mechanics, and a series of amazing graphics that brought the game to life. And none of it would have been possible without an amazing team.
So what’s next for The Startup Trail? We’re in talks with some people, dabbling in it as a team, and thinking about a Kickstarter. If you’ve got any ideas or support, leave them in the comments. And if you love the graphics, they were made by Ryan Requena, who’s available as a freelancer and does phenomenal work.