Pitchfest: Tony Chamberlain of Applio Limited

Pitchfest: Tony Chamberlain of Applio Limited

Pitchfest finalist, Applio Limited, aims to enable businesses and their partners to build meaningful games that could solve business and organisational challenges. Director Tony Chamberlain caught up with BQ ahead of Pitchfest 2016.

Describe your business in no more than 100 words.

The use of games beyond entertainment purposes, to help solve business and organisational challenges, is taking off but is inhibited by cost and complexity issues. HELM is a meaningful games engine that enables an organisation or partner to build a fully functioning game in hours rather than months. HELM will evolve from an engine to a full platform, providing a marketplace for business games and content across multiple sectors. We have secured our first client (utilities) and content partner (health). In 2016 we are finalising market fit and initiating our sales and marketing activities.


What prompted you to enter Pitchfest?

We have been investigating our options in relation to investment, our preferred investor(s) would bring expertise to Applio as well as financial resources. We believe that Pitchfest could be the conduit to achieve these objectives.


What are you looking to fund with this investment?

Any investment secured would be directed at delivering further content, driving the required sales & marketing objectives and development of the next phase of the product .


Who inspires you to do what you do?

With backgrounds in organisation change and performance improvement, we became increasingly frustrated with the tools available to support people-centric change and organisational development. For a number of years now people have recognised that traditional command and control change management programmes don’t work and there is a need to truly engage people in change. However, people centric and engagement driven change is more talked about than actually done. We wanted to make a practical difference to people involved in change by giving them tools that support a more ‘human’ and successful approach to change.     

We are both fascinated and driven by the transfer of capabilities and technologies from one sector or aspect of life to another. Gameful experiences are much more natural and engaging than most of the techniques traditionally used in change programmes and that’s why we’ve concentrated on transferring the power of games to the world of work. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly our inspiration comes from a diverse variety of sources from the worlds of business, games, behavioural economics and psychology. In our offices, each member of staff puts up pictures of people that inspire them and on our walls we have people as diverse as Satoru Iwata the former head of Nintendo who brought games to a much wider audience through to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the psychologist who architected the concept of flow (which all businesses should know about!).       


Have you explored any other avenues of funding?

We have invested over £300k of our own money and have won two InnovateUK awards, we also have interest from two ‘friendly’ investors.


How do you differentiate your business from others?

We have developed the first solution that allows an end user to build, deploy, test, tweak and change a serious game in hours rather than weeks, without the need to employ expensive skilled resources. This dramatically increases the ROI to the organisation.


Where do you see your company in five years time?

Provision of a platform (Salesforce.com model) that provides the Applio community the ability to buy and sell specific content and games.


Who would your dream customers be?

Major health provider – NHS, Sutter Health (CA) both of which we are talking to.

Key content providers – specialist Consulting Training providers in areas like Health, Utilities, Retail etc. who can provide the subject matter expertise to deliver the content required to build a successful suite of games.


How far is your productservice away from being market ready?

We are currently in ‘soft launch’ mode working with early adopters as we refine our market fit. The product will be launched on a larger scale basis in early 2017.   


What is the one thing you hope investors take away from your pitch?

That our solution is market ready for ‘early adopters’, product will be fully operational in Q4 of 2016 and that our USP of delivering a serious games engine that provides an organisation the ability to build, deploy, test, tweak and change a game. Delivering a significant increase in ROI over traditional methods is fully understood and provides a vehicle that can drive rapid growth and returns.


Which customers are you working with at the minute?

(End Client) - major utilities organisation – providing a serious games platform to assist within the Learning & Development of employees within a transformation programme.

(Content Partner) – Focus Games provide traditional serious board games that are deployed within the learning & development departments within the Health industry, we are working in partnership to ‘digitise’ the offerings to provide a platform for growth both within the client base and to new prospects within the health industry both in the UK and internationally.


What’s your proudest entrepreneurial achievement so far?

Between us we have founded, or been instrumental in growing a number of successful business but there is something truly exciting about building something that has never been done before. Some time ago we heard a request at a conference for the type of technology we are developing and the expert panel said ‘good luck finding one of those’. We are very proud of developing something that we believe will help change the way in which games and play are viewed and will ultimately make the workplace a more human and better place to be.