What if your market doesn’t really exist yet?

What if your market doesn’t really exist yet?

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This week we’re quoting Fabien ‘Neo’ Devide (Co-Founder and CEO at Team Vitality)

What Neo said: 

“When we arrived 10 years ago, our mission was to modernise the esports of the 2000s.”

It got us thinking about startups that have to create a market, as well as a business

Esports did exist before Team Vitality, of course. But it existed in a different way – and in order to achieve everything they wanted to achieve, Team Vitality had to reshape the market, as well as build their own business. 

Startups that launch into mature, competitive markets face challenges of their own. But what if your market doesn’t really exist yet – or it exists, but it’s too slow or old-fashioned to support your vision?

Transforming a market from the inside-out

Creating or reimagining a market is a huge task – but it’s less daunting when you recognise that it starts with your business. If you have the confidence to go against the grain and do things differently, you can lead by example and inspire change across your sector. 

“Team Vitality's strength was our transparency,” Neo said, “and our desire to create good storytelling with entertainment,and finding the right balance between creating entertaining experiences for fans and winning esports competitions.” 

In finding that balance, they were able to bring in more fans and players – because esports became an exciting prospect for audiences to engage with. 

Transparency is a key quality to consider if your startup aims to transform a market: because users or customers won’t want to get involved if they don’t feel confident they know what they’re getting involved in. 

Foundations laid, you can start to build

“Once we were established, the second stage was professionalisation,” Neo said. 

This was important for a sector that didn’t yet have industry standards that players and fans could trust, and it built on the foundations of strong engagement by creating the infrastructure for growth. 

“We set standards for drawing up contracts for players so that they could be safe and paid what they were worth. It sounds simple, but at the time it was a major step forward.” 

This is a critical factor to think about if you’re spearheading the evolution of an industry. Do you need to establish standards so that more talent can commit, knowing that there are clear pathways to follow to establish their own position in the market? 

And it’s when you’ve got engagement and industry standards that you can realise your dreams

“Today we are entering a phase of structuring our model and maturity,” Neo noted. “The club, driven by its top performance project, has solid financial backing.” 

“This support has enabled us to raise significant funds to develop our organisation into a world leader in its sector. We can now put our organisation at the service of great causes, such as mental health, with our KARE project, and the development of women's esports, with our women's League of Legends team Vitality Rising Bees.”

So right at the beginning of your journey, ask yourself questions like: 

  • What are your loftiest goals – the deeper meaning behind your startup?
  • What’s standing in your way of working on those goals?
  • What can you do through marketing, process implementation, and infrastructure development to get to a place where you can work towards those goals?

And use those basic questions as your roadmap. You can’t start using your startup to address mental health challenges, for example, if your market is quiet and has low engagement and no one will hear the message you’re trying to spread. But when you’ve got an active, engaged audience, you can start introducing them to new ideas. 

Launching into a thriving market means you have a lot of competition – but it also means you have an engaged audience to work with if you can show them why your business is one to watch. 

In contrast, launching into a market that needs work means you might have to take things slow, and establish a reason for your potential audience to engage with you and your market before you can really start working to your full potential. 

Patience is key. If you have real confidence in the value of your work and a commitment to growing with your audience, you’ll be able to pioneer change in your sector and shape the future around your vision. Which is pretty exciting, really. 


LEAP is proud to have an unbeatable lineup of international sponsors with a presence at this year’s event. Our digital consulting partner PwC will be in attendance at this year’s event where we will be exploring the future of technology and artificial intelligence, the evolving field of GenAI, advancements in cloud technology, public safety technologies, space tech, and much more. Visit the PwC booth where they will explore human-led, tech-powered innovations through showcases and speaking sessions during the event days where they will be hosting over 60 sessions. You can find PwC in Hall 2, booth H20.


Have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts.

Catch you next week,
Richard McKeon
Group Marketing Director

P.S. - Mark your calendars for LEAP 2024 📅 4-7 March 2024. Want to be a part of the action?

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