Fun and Games with BigDoor

We recently invested in a Seattle company called BigDoor Media.  The founder/CEO Keith Smith wrote a wonderful love story about the deal which was picked up by the WSJ VC Dispatch in a post titled A Summer Romance Between Founder And Venture Capitalist.  Yes, I’ve fallen in love (in a very non-sexual way) with Keith, his co-founder Jeff Malek, and BigDoor.

Over the past year I’ve become increasingly obsessed with the idea that the computers are going to take over.  I’ve even begun to think that we are already working for them. So – why not have fun while we are at it?  By using a light weight API approach, BigDoor enables any non-game publisher to quickly integrate game mechanics such as points, badges, levels, leaderboards, virtual currency, and virtual goods into their web and mobile applications.  They’ve already rolled out integrations with Cheezburger Networks and BuddyTV and have a pile of additional publishers launching in the next 90 days.

BigDoor straddles our Glue and Distribution themes.  While Glue may be familiar to you, Distribution is a new theme that we’ll be talking about soon when we re-segment Glue into a couple of new themes to more clearly delineate what we’ve been investing in over the past two years.

I’ve already been spending plenty of time in Seattle due to Gist, Impinj, TechStars Seattle, and some other good friends that I have there.  In fact, according to Daytum, I’ve spent 14 nights there in the past eighteen months.  I expect I’ll be spending plenty more there soon, including a few next week on my way to Alaska.

If you are a web publisher, take a look at what BigDoor can do for you.  And, while you are at it, check out Lijit if you haven’t already incorporated the slickest publisher search on the planet – now with an ad network and a fresh $6m – into your site.

  • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

    R. Meyer – you raise a valid point, and my apologies for being so hard to contact today. We constantly attempt to keep costs down (even after we raised money from Foundry) and have been using Skype for our main number, which in turn forwards to multiple cell phones so we can always make sure the phone gets answered. Apparently that quit working today for some reason, but we are looking into it. It has become apparent to us that this super cheap option won't scale, so we are getting a new phone "system" soon. (Still cheap, and VOIP – but much more scalable.)

    I'd welcome you to contact me directly via email keith at bigdoor.com. Anyone who registers for a BigDoor account actually has my email and cell phone listed on the left side of the site at all times. I love to hear from customers and potential customers, so I welcome the phone calls.

    And yes, we did cash the check. It didn't bounce or anything. :-)

    Keith
    BigDoor co-founder and CEO

  • R. Meyer

    Brad,
    Has Bigdoor cashed the check yet?
    I tried calling the phone number on their website (which is only in one location) and it is a non-working phone number.
    OK, maybe something changed.
    So, I went to whois and all of the whois data is in privacy mode.
    As a professional investor, doesn't that raise some red flags to you?

    Don't they want people to communicate with them?

    • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

      R. Meyer – you raise a valid point, and my apologies for being so hard to contact today. We constantly attempt to keep costs down (even after we raised money from Foundry) and have been using Skype for our main number, which in turn forwards to multiple cell phones so we can always make sure the phone gets answered. Apparently that quit working today for some reason, but we are looking into it. It has become apparent to us that this super cheap option won't scale, so we are getting a new phone "system" soon. (Still cheap, and VOIP – but much more scalable.)

      I'd welcome you to contact me directly via email keith at bigdoor.com. Anyone who registers for a BigDoor account actually has my email and cell phone listed on the left side of the site at all times. I love to hear from customers and potential customers, so I welcome the phone calls.

      And yes, we did cash the check. It didn't bounce or anything. :-)

      Keith
      BigDoor co-founder and CEO

  • http://twitter.com/MorrisSam @MorrisSam

    I didn't see any mention of it on bigdoor.com but is BigDoor likely to offer an Android SDK anytime in the near future?

    • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

      @MorrisSam – great question. We absolutely plan to offer an Android (and iPhone) SDK. We also recognize that as a startup we are stretched too far already (note the comment above). We are currently looking for dev partners to work with on mobile platforms as well as other common publisher platforms (think WordPress, etc.). If you know of companies that fit the bill, please send them our way.

      Keith
      BigDoor co-founder and CEO

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/andyidsinga andy idsinga

    Hey – there are some good folks over there at Impinj – Kerry Krause especially :)

  • http://twitter.com/Danielmsullivan @Danielmsullivan

    Looks interesting. As my company continues publishing mobile apps, I'm very interested in the well built modules out there that prevent me from building certain components from scratch, and allow me to focus on the core value I want to build. I took a look and didn't see a mention of iPhone apps on the site. Are they live with that functionality, or is it still in the works?

    • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

      @Danielmsullivan – I concur with your approach. We find that when companies use us to power their game mechanics, it allows them more differentiation from everyone else because they can focus on the user experience and design elements, while we handle all of the boring numbers, scale, security, data models, etc. on the back end. It accelerates deployment, learnings and innovation.

      iPhone apps/sdk is still in the works (looking for dev partners at this point) – but you can certainly use our platform on either Android or the iPhone now. We have a RESTful API – so anything that can make an http request can use our platform. The future mobile SDKs will add an additional layer to this, but it is absolutely ready to go as is today.

      Keith
      BigDoor co-founder and CEO

  • Karthik

    Great Post, I found nice series of blog post in their site. but seems like their site missing RSS feeds. May be I overlooked :(

    • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

      Thanks Karthik. Our rss button got misplaced in a recent site redesign. Thanks for catching that so we can get it back up. Our www site and blog have admittedly been a bit of an afterthought for the last couple of months since we've been focusing all of our attention on our API and our "post login" platform. But you can get an RSS feed from our blog by going here: http://www.bigdoor.com/category/blog/rss

      Keith
      BigDoor co-founder and CEO

      • Karthik

        Thanks Keith.

  • Mark Johnson

    Interested to see how you compare to Bunchball.

    • http://twitter.com/ChiefDoorman @ChiefDoorman

      Thanks Mark. I think we serve very different audiences. A bit about us. We don't have a setup fee; developers can write apps for our platform that can provide benefits and functionality to others using our system; you can sign up (in two minutes), get your API keys, and self-serve through our open platform; we have a simple and inexpensive pricing structure; we offer deep and configurable analytics; we plug into best of breed payment and offer providers; every object in our platform is configurable and accessible via our REST API; we have sample code to get you started; our full API documentation is available to any registered publisher or developer; and you can get our CEO on Skype to do a screen-share and answer any question you have. Just to name a few of our advantages.

    • http://twitter.com/bunchball @bunchball

      Hey Mark –

      While Keith is right that we don't have a self-service offering, with Bunchball's Nitro platform you do get the benefit of a platform that's had 3+ years of development, learning and hard-won experience & expertise behind it. A platform that's being used by established companies like Comcast, NBC, Hasbro and Warner Bros. as well as startups like Brightstorm and IMHO Media and even non-profits like HopeLab.

      But here's the thing, we created the gamification market, and what we've learned is that the technology only gets you so far. At the end of the day, you need experience & expertise to get you to the finish line. We bring both to the table.

      And to hit on Keith's specific points below – we have analytics, payment and offer integration, REST, JavaScript and Flash APIs, plug-and-play widgets, social media integration, etc… Everything you might need and more. You can check out the full extent of what's available at our website: http://www.bunchball.com/nitro/components/

      And while I'm not the CEO anymore, any of our customers, big or small, will tell you that I'm always available to them. But most of the time they don't need me, because our client services team rocks.

      best, – Rajat Paharia
      Founder, Chief Product Officer
      Bunchball