Virtual worlds may have existed for years now, however, none will be like the ICYou's group's soon to be launched Interactive City - the world's first 3D world that is set to become a main marketing channel for sports club. SportsPro caught up with Lars-Erik Ottenvall, chief executive of the ICYou Group, to find out how Interactive City came to be and what it is all about.
What was your first job?
My first real job was as a carpenter here in Sweden. I was burning to build things and went through education, and then I started up my own construction company.
We learned to build things carefully from scratch and since then I have taken that experience with me out to my other work.
How did you become involved in ICYou Group?
I had known Fredrik Nilsson a number of years when I was asked to join him to start the ICYou Group. He wanted me to assume the responsibilities as chief executive of the company. After careful consideration I accepted this responsibility and exciting mission. After a few months, we had come far enough to start up the company, and, by 24th May 2007, it was registered with the Companies Registration Office.
"Interactive City can offer new and unique ways to communicate and market your product."
Can you describe the history of the company?
Our marketplace was formed during a fair in Germany in the summer of 2007. We had the idea to create a place for individuals to meet and socialise with others in a 3D environment, coupled with businesses. Since then, we have designed and started building our world, talked to many customers and companies - and looking for the right suppliers. Now we have found everything, set-up an organisation and are currently developing Interactive City. And soon it's time...
What is IC YOU Group's main area of business?
We focus on providing a marketplace for the sports and entertainment industry. It is a genre that we are alone in taking. We make our revenues from everyone who purchases a product in the Interactive City. It is important to us that we focus on our business model and do what we're good at - developing the environment and ensuring that our customers sell lots of their products and that our users enjoy being there.
What opportunities can ICYou Group offer sporting organisations?
Interactive City can offer new and unique ways to communicate and market your product. A sport club can, for example, sell new sponsorship at your virtual areas, sell branded virtual merchandise and engage fans with better social interaction. We can double all your revenue streams from the real world.
What expansion plans does ICYouGroup have?
We will grow with confidence. It takes time to build this kind of marketplace. We have users – we are not worried about that. Rather, we are worried about the pressure of keeping up to supply all the services and stores that our customers want. Interactive City is a global product that unites the world and we will of course be releasing new versions of local languages at a pace we can keep up.
A guest column written by Lars-Erik Ottenvall featured in the June edition of SportsPro. To learn more about the ICYou Group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org