028: Brandon Curry (Moonbase Market)

Brandon Curry on Innovation City

“Video games represent something intrinsically important to the human experience, which is connectivity.” —Brandon Curry

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in conjunction with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s episode was recorded at 39 North at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and today’s guest is Brandon Curry, Founding Partner of Moonbase Market. Moonbase Market is the first E-sports arena in St. Louis. Located in the Soulard neighborhood, Moonbase provides a physical arena for playing and spectating tabletop and video game competitions. Brandon joins us to talk about the power of video games to help create friendships and build community.

Watch Moonbase videos on Twitch at @MoonbaseMarket, and buy and sell Magic: The Gathering and other card games in-store or online at MoonbaseMarket.com.

They discuss:

  • Getting a Masters in Forensic Linguistics in Graduate School
  • Starting out in Education startups
  • Brandon has visited every continent except Antarctica
  • Synergy between a retail gaming store and e-commerce
  • Partnering with Earthbound Brewing to open their second location, Earthbound Satellite, inside Moonbase Market
  • Moonbase Studio, a commercial photography studio located above Moonbase Market
  • Growing up a gamer, being a semi-pro gamer with Major League Gaming
  • Halo 1 and Halo 2
  • Growing up with Sega Genesis
  • Playing Sonic 2
  • Playing Madden and Double Dribble
  • The tremendous growth of E-sports, building a career as an E-sports athlete
  • Travelling to gaming events
  • Venture capital’s interest in E-gaming
  • Knowing that he had to make an impact and build a brand early
  • South Korea’s dominant role in E-sports
  • What draws people to watch E-sports
  • The high-level of performance, and dedication, required to be a world-class E-sports athlete
  • Similarities to other world-class athletes, like Lebron James and other NBA stars
  • Finding the startup that’s right
  • Building a business as an advertising platform
  • Building a viewer base
  • Having talented friends who can help you bring your dream to life
  • Being a weird Venn Diagram of former gamer and skilled marketer
  • The need for high quality work with high production values
  • Phases of viewership
  • Adopting the existing model of sports broadcasting
  • The importance of gaming to a generation that grew up on it, and used it to help find and establish friendships
  • The power of gaming to build community
  • How great it is to operate in a cool neighborhood like Soulard