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Q+A With FanCake Co-Founder Carlos Diaz

Written by iHospital. Posted in iHospital iV

FanCake Founder Carlos DiazAs someone who loves sports, writing and gadgets I jumped at the opportunity to work for new start-up app company Kwarter way back in December of last year.

What started out as way to utilize my sometimes useless love and passion of sports with the endless capabilities of my iPad and earn a few bucks on the side has turned into a gig that even I had no idea could go so far as it has in the few short months that I’ve been a part of the Kwarter network.

The app came onto the market under the name Kwarter but has since been re-branded and is now known as FanCake and has evolved from being a way to interact with others about the game you’re watching on TV with others on your second screen device into a much more rewarding experience where sports fans are actually rewarded for watching sports. With actual prizes!

If you check out the review section of this very website you’ll see an in depth review of a previous version of FanCake where their rewards program wasn’t in place yet. Now you can earn credits that can be redeemed for prizes such as discounts on sporting goods and tickets, apps like NBA Jam and Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots and even Van Halen concert tickets!

I thought as a FanCake Game Master, that’s someone in charge of overseeing the events in a given FanCake sporting event being covered, which means handing out medals, putting out in-game predictions and keeping the sports conversation going, that it would be interesting for iHospital readers to get to know more about FanCake straight from the mouth of FanCake co-founder and CEO Carlos Diaz. Luckily iHospital felt the same way and allowed me to conduct a Q+A session guest post for their website, which you will find below.

How did the company Kwarter come to be?

After building successful B to B companies in France, my co-founder and I were looking to do something in the consumer space here in the US. Around the time that we were brainstorming, we began to follow the Giants pretty closely, as all San Francisco sports fans do. We noticed that the games were fun, but sometimes long, and we began to conceive of an application that would make the game more fun, social, and engaging for the fans. We formed a company, Kwarter, and began the prototyping process from there.

FanCake was previously known as Kwarter so why the app name change?

Actually, it wasn’t really a name change, but in fact the first time we gave the app a name. During the open beta period, we simply called the app “Kwarter”, after the name of the company. But as we iterated the product and developed our point of view, it became clear that Kwarter wasn’t just an application, it was a company that built applications. With that in mind, our first product needed a name, and that became FanCake.

Do you think the world of sports world will come to fully embrace the second screen movement?

The good news for us, and for fans of second screen apps, is that it already is. Broadcasters know that they’re losing the attention of viewers during programming. Apple’s sold 67 M iPads in less than two years. Combine that with all the laptops and all the smart phones in the market, and you’ve got a viewing public that’s looking at an alternative screen before, during, and after your regularly scheduled programming Televised sports is one of the last bastions of broadcast TV that’s chiefly a live medium, where viewers don’t have the option to fast forward through TV spots. The second screen is, for now, a cheap opportunity for brands to enhance and reinforce their TV advertising, and that’s something they can’t ignore.

What’s your ultimate goal with FanCake?

We want to renovate the relationship between viewers, brands, and broadcasters. With FanCake, we give viewers a free live social game to play along with the action on TV. They participate in a viewing experience that’s more social, fun, and rewarding, while brands engage with their audience in a way that’s original, organic, and highly convertible. On top of it all, broadcasters enhance their content and add value for the brands that advertise with them. If we can deliver value for each of these parties while keeping it totally free for viewers, we’ll have achieved our goal.

Can you tell us a little bit about the new FanCake rewards system?

As we developed the app, we talked a lot about the live sports experience. What do the spectators get when they buy tickets for and attend a game? Of course you get to be there in person, but teams and stadiums offer other little perks along with that. For example, Jack in the Box does a 100-point promo at the Staples Center in LA. When the Lakers score 100 points while keeping their opponent under 100, everyone in attendance gets free tacos from Jack in the Box. It’s wildly popular; so popular in fact that it’s actually in the NBA 2k video game—you can hear digital Laker fans screaming “we want tacos” if the Lakers are close to 100. We wanted to deliver that rewarding experience to everyone watching at home. The rewards system was born.

What we do is award FanCake Credits for checking in to games, and then we continue to award them based on your performance in the game. The more games you watch and the better you perform in the app, the more FanCake Credits you’ll earn. They can be redeemed directly in the app for discounts on officially licensed merchandise, tickets, sporting goods, other sports apps, even Nike gear. We’re adding new partners to the catalog almost every week.

What does the new FanCake rewards system mean for the app, Kwarter, and the fans?

For the fans it simply means that now there’s an app that rewards you for watching sports. Through fun and interactive game layers based on live TV sports, FanCake brings the promotions and rewards typically reserved for those physically at a game to the fans watching at home. Sports fans can finally get rewarded for watching their favorite sports, teams, and athletes, all by playing along in the free FanCake app.

For us, the rewards system is the establishment of our business model. What we’ve discovered is that brands want to reward fans for their engagement and loyalty. They’re as eager to move beyond banner ads as the rest of us, and are open to new ideas when it comes to engaging users. This means that Kwarter can drive revenue from the FanCake app and reward our users at the same time. Simply put, the rewards system allows us to make a free live social game that’s not supported by banner ads. We drive revenue, and the users not only get a premium social gaming experience, but in fact they get rewarded just for playing a free game. What could be better than that?

What does the future of the app hold?

Oh boy, even with all that we’ve done so far, it’s really just the beginning. First of all, we’ll of course add more and more games every month. We’ll be featuring well over 200 games per month by the time the Summer Olympics start. We’ll be adding new sports this summer. We challenge ourselves to deliver an update to FanCake almost every month, and this month’s no exception. The next couple of updates will focus primarily on gameplay, adding visuals and mechanics that are even more relevant to what you’re seeing on TV. We realize not everyone has time to sit and play along with a whole game with FanCake, so we’re building functionality so that FanCake can be a social, fun, and rewarding companion to the game even if you only check in for a quarter, a period, or a few innings.

And that’s the end of our interview with Carlos. As many of you iHospital readers and clients already know that iHospital is the place for all your Mac and Apple device needs you now know that FanCake is your one stop shop when it comes to sports second screen apps. Not to mention that it’s free in the App store and you can win stuff like a $15 gift card to Total Hockey just for having the most points during any Stanley Cups Final game featured in the app! Thanks go out to Carlos and the FanCake crew for giving us an inside scoop about FanCake. Hope you give the app a try; if you aren’t addicted to it already, that is!

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