Hover: The eLab Team Helping Small Streamers Get Discovered
This month, we are spotlighting eLab team Hover who are impassioned to help lesser-known streamers get discovered. The co-founder and CTO, Michael Maitland (‘22), has been working on this platform for three years now and has grown the team to 13. Michael is in the College of Engineering studying Computer Science. Michael and the two other co-founders met at an internship while they were gaming together. They started working on a project centered around the idea of posting gaming clips no matter what you gamed on. Later on, they recruited Jack Stettner (‘22), a computer science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, along with nine other students to help develop, improve and market their product.
Their product, Hover, is a place where streamers can get discovered. On the platform, gamers can post short gaming clips that highlight either the gamer’s personality or skill, giving them a place to build a resume of organic content. The platform is built in a way where people can easily discover new content. It is laid out similarly to the social media platform TikTok, with a discovery feed you can easily scroll through. Additionally, the app allows users to follow gamers of their choosing directly on Twitch, a video live streaming service that many gamers use. With Hover, the team hopes to improve the visibility of lesser-known streamers. The issue with live streaming is that 95% of streamers get maybe five viewers while a select few attract thousands upon thousands of viewers, making millions of dollars for their daily streams. On large platforms, it is nearly impossible for small streamers to gain traction given the lack of promotion. Hover seeks to address this problem by providing a centralized place for gamers and viewers to discover new people.
When they began Hover, the team was building a product they thought people wanted without knowing the problem they were seeking to address. Since joining eLab, the Hover team has shifted into a more customer-centric mindset. This is largely thanks to the Designing New Ventures class that all eLab cohort members must take. This course focuses on customer discovery and calls upon the students to go out and talk to potential customers. The Hover team would hop into random twitch streams or enter discord communities to ask people on these platforms about issues facing the streaming community. As they heard from more gamers, they zeroed in on the issue facing small streamers and were able to form a more concrete idea of what their product would be. A big aid in the customer discovery process has been the utilization of a Hover discord channel in which over 1,000 users provide feedback for the app. With the discord channel, Hover has established a tight feedback loop that allows the Hover team to quickly address any issues that arise and to create a product that is tailored to the needs of their target customers.
Currently, the team is focused on growing the number of users on their platform and implementing a marketing strategy that would work best for their user base. The Hover team is finding the most effective and cheapest way to gain users, with a goal of reaching a million users. Right now, the Hover app has over 5,300 users, with more joining each day. Another goal for Hover is to improve its retention rate by increasing user engagement within the app.
Once Hover has a significant user base, they will look to monetize their product. Until now, they were solely focused on building the right product and attracting a user base. The team is currently looking at two potential approaches for this. The first is for gamers to pay for exposure. Similar to ads on Instagram or Facebook, gamers could pay to boost their reach and promote their videos. This option is a fairly popular option used in the social media world, and gamers have shown interest in wanting to do this in the Hover app already. The second option is trying to attract big gaming companies to advertise on their platform. Since Hover has a very specific target audience of serious video gamers, this would be a great way for larger companies to advertise.
Maitland (‘22) and Stettner (‘22) want to give a shout-out to two special groups of people that have helped them tremendously with their product so far. The first is their eLab advisors whom they meet with every month for direct helpful feedback. The second is their loyal customer base that helps them to continuously improve their product. Additionally, if anyone wants to be involved with the Hover team, please reach out to either Michael Maitland at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jack Stettner at email@example.com