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Gaming and esports are a massive growth area across the board. Quickly catching up to their physical equivalents in terms of popularity and commercial appeal, the competitive digital realm has amassed a huge fan base around the world.
Piyush Kumar, CEO Founder of Rooter wants to bring them all together for not only community, but live-action sports and live-action content creation. And it’s working. Rooter counts 16.2 million monthly active users while 1.2 million creators create content on the platform every month. It’s also racked up $32 million in funding.
So how do you build this success? After a career in marketing, Kumar was bitten by the ‘entrepreneurial bug’ and took a step into the unknown with Rooter. With a gaming market of 500 million in India alone, the sky’s the limit for ambitious Kumar: “It’s very, very exciting. The idea is to really make it something worthwhile and something very, very important for the community.”
Listen in on this edition of the Big Leap with host Peggy Anne Salz, and discover how Kumar grew his platform to number one on Google Play and the importance of commitment and balance.
Looking at the growth of Rooter, and back at his own career, Kumar hits upon a significant number: seven. Seven years, as he sees it, is the perfect amount of time to really aim to accomplish something in a role: “Seven years is a great time because in a couple of years, you kind of figure out how things work, then the next three or four years you fix things. And then by the time you hit sixth to seventh year, you start to grow. That’s exactly what happened in Rooter, exactly what happened in my own marketing career.”
While more a reflection than advice, Kumar hits upon one of his own key tenets: it takes time to make something work: “You need to give time to things. Things don’t happen overnight. And anything that is built with patience, with a certain foresight, gives you a better chance of success than to do something in haste.”
Knowing the users, and making sure they’re both equipped with what they need and serviced with what they want, is the cornerstone in keeping people coming back to the app. Rooter offers a personal touch in a digital world. It actively helps its community to become better, to optimize their content and make the most of their reach: “Each of our team members actually works with a set of creators. And day in, day out, they give them feedback on their streams, they give them ideas on how to go about things. It’s like having your personal manager to go back to, to learn how to get better and to do this. That human intervention is extremely important.”
The patience has certainly paid off for Kumar, with Rooter not only getting a foothold in the Indian gaming market but leading it. As India’s largest gaming streaming and esports platform, Kumar started at the basics; giving gaming enthusiasts what they needed to become creators: “The idea is that when somebody aspires to be a gaming creator, he or she should think of Rooter, come here, start creating content, and we will not just give them the best technology, but also give them maximum viewers. We’ll help them monetize their content. We’ill make them stars.”
This system keeps those users coming back. Kumar describes retention as Rooter’s North Star metric: “As your retention improves, the lifetime value of a user improves. You’re able to kind of make money much faster from the user. But most importantly for executing that, the key thing is having the right product and the right personalisation.”
Rooter updates its customized homepages for users daily, keeping the experience fresh and keeping the users coming back. Kumar knows that standing still isn’t an option: “You cannot have the same product and imagine that everybody will adapt to you. You have to understand what your user wants and keep on optimizing your product so that you find that right user product fit.”
Rooter has received $32 million in funding, but Kumar refuses to be reliant on that, looking to monetize at every opportunity: “We give multiple solutions in terms of advertising, performance marketing, content IP, influencer marketing, esports, like multiple ways in which a brand can actually interact with the user.”
As with any CEO embarking on a journey with a new venture, Rooter takes up a lot of Kumar’s time. But he’s set out his own boundaries in order to achieve both business success and to have a healthy family life. He sees it as his duty, his way of paying back their support: ”I work for five days a week, and I fully dedicate myself to Rooter and I do everything possible to ensure that nothing stops at my desk or I’m able to contribute in every possible way for the team. But I do believe that for me to effectively work on those five days, I need a very balanced approach from a family perspective.”
To hear the full story from Kumar, and how CleverTap helps steer Rooter, listen to the latest episode of The Big Leap below:
The User Retention Pocket Guide