Five questions for Dennis Briddigkeit of Curvature Games
Dennis Briddigkeit was among the joint founders of the Curvature Games studio for virtual reality computer games set up in early 2020. Players wear virtual reality (VR) headsets and navigate simulated worlds. A series of manipulated perceptions allows gamers to move around the virtual world without actually having to walk long distances making for a special experience. A trick in the display steers users subconsciously into slight bends. Briddigkeit is responsible for communication and business development at Curvature Games.
How did your business idea come about?
Our business idea emerged from a PhD thesis by Dr Eike Langbehn, Managing Director of Curvature Games and joint founder. His thesis focused on locomotion in virtual reality. As passionate gamers, we swiftly discovered the potential of this technology for games and developed our first business plan from there.
Where did you found your company and who funded you?
We founded our company at the University of Hamburg. The institution offers founders various support services as it is a partner of the Hamburg-based beyourpilot network. The Technical University Hamburg-Harburg's (TUHH)s Startup Dock, which is also part of the beyourpilot network, helped us as well. We received EXIST funding from the German government, the EU, and through IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH's InnoRampUp scheme as well as the "Media Lift" and "Games Lift" incubator programmes offered by Hamburger Kreativ Gesellschaft.
What were the biggest obstacles to setting up your company?
The many small bureaucratic hurdles and stumbling blocks that no start-up guidebook prepares you for include advance VAT registration, payroll, insurance, business registration, articles of association, etc. Many business guides cover the rock star issues like revenue, ROI and business plan. They are all important, but you have to do your homework and that includes these many small issues that are often forgotten or overlooked during the consultation.
What would you do differently in the founding phase?
Nothing. Hamburg has many offers for young startups and people who are thinking of founding a company. But the German government and the EU has some offers as well - not only Hamburg. We accepted those offers and put a lot of work into applying for them. Those programmes and funding have helped us enormously and provided support in the crucial, first experimental phase. At the same time, we were able to build up our network, which is an enormous help at present. I can only advise interested people to turn to such local networks and startup programmes, which provide this important aid in a protected space.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Five years on, we see ourselves as an established, well-known creative studio that develops immersive virtual reality experiences for home entertainment and VR arcades in e.g., leisure facilities. VR users all over the world will know and appreciate our games and we will have grown to around 20 people and finance ourselves independently through our games.
Interview by Charles Sinn, Co-ordinator of Content Management at Hamburg Innovation in co-operation with Hamburg News.