Golden Bear Dispatch: Chedli Ben Hassine, '17
After graduating from WVU Tech with a degree in Information Systems, Chedli Ben Hassine moved back to Paris, where he opened the country’s first e-sports gym. In the two years since, he’s earned a master’s in business and refocused his gaming efforts on a new hit app for competitive gamers. Here’s his update on life after Tech in this edition of Golden Bear Dispatch.
After I graduated from WVU Tech in May 2017, I started my company BeGame in France while studying toward a master's degree in one of the top business school in France, Grenoble École de Management.
I love video games, and I love playing with people. On campus I was regularly inviting friends to play FIFA or other videos games in my room. Living alone in my room, I didn't have my parents to tell me when to stop gaming, so I could play whenever I wanted. And once I came back to France, back with parents, I needed to find a place to play and other gamers to play with. It was impossible. I knew I needed to recreate this gathering I once did at Tech. I contacted my old friend David Lenogue, who's also a gamer, and told him about this crazy idea to create a gaming center, and more precisely, an esports center. A place where any type of gamer can come and have fun with others who are passionate. It was also a place where they could practice their favorite competitive games in order to participate to esports tournaments.
Six months later, even though our business was profitable, we were struggling in business development as most of our time was spent in negotiating with our town hall to get an optic fiber in our center. We decided to close our first gaming place and move on to another city to create a new facility. A smaller esports center dedicated to semi-professional gamers and pro gamers to prepare for major esports competition. David and I realized then that after gathering hundreds of gamers in our gaming places, we could do so much more. There are 30 million regular gamers in France, and we wanted to help them gather rather than staying at home by themselves. By the time we opened our first place, so many other gaming places opened all over the country. As gaming place owners and gamers ourselves, we knew how the market worked, so we decided to connect all gaming places and all gamers through a digital interface to simplify gatherings and help gaming place owners to get more clients.
In June 2018, after we stopped our gaming center business, we started to conceptualize and design our new project: Lanslot. Lanslot is an application that allows players to geolocate gaming events, esports competitions and gaming places in France. Gamers can then join other passionate players during those events in gaming places and play together in the same place.
With my associates David Lenogue and Pierre-Alexandre Chassier, we have raised funds through a crowdfunding platform called Ulule (it's kind of like a French Kickstarter). About 140 people donated money to help us build the first version of the app, which we developed in five months. We have launched our app in Beta version during the Paris Games Week (October 30th, 2019). Our app reached Google Play Store's social media apps trends in less than 24 hours and the Apple App Store TOP 96 social media apps – just about 90 spots behind Facebook (our record is Top 83, in front of IGTV). We are now preparing to raise funds with French VCs and Business Angels in order to grow our team and internationalize our project starting with Europe and then North America.
In parallel of our app, I launched my audio podcast (in French) on Spotify and Apple podcast in which I talk about my entrepreneurial journey. I've reached hundreds of listeners here in France and have been helping dozens of entrepreneurs reach their goals. I also plan on re-uploading past episodes of my podcast in English by 2020 so I can share them with my friends and family in America and worldwide.