A new fantasy football app launched this week by a trio of Maltese friends has already climbed local download charts and has big hopes of taking over internationally.
POANG is a hybrid fantasy football game based on real-life performance of players. It emphasises the football manager role by including role-playing activities, such as having a scouting team, finance team and real-life stadiums that earn you in-game cash based on actual attendance of that particular stadium.
Users also have the option to buy players from Europe’s top 7 domestic leagues (England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands), as well as teams participating in the Champions League and Europa League.
The app gets its name from the Swedish name for point or score.
“We do not have any Scandinavian connections but we thought it was a catchy name,” the guys told Lovin Malta.
Luca Amato, Steve Zammit Briffa and Patrick Camilleri have been working on the game since 2015. Earlier this year they secured substantial local funding from Harvest, the technology division of Hili Ventures. And now they’ve finally launched the complete product.
The most interesting thing about POANG is that it blends two concepts that already exist in isolation and are very successful in their own right. On the one hand you have fantasy football, which is a popular game for football in Europe, and sports in general in the US and other countries outside of the EU. On the other hand you have football management games that are simulated role-playing games where the user takes on the role of a football manager or coach.
The guys began working on the app two years ago while juggling their full-time jobs. Luca was a full-time corporate lawyer, Patrick was a manager at an IT company and Steve, also a lawyer, organised large parties (Sunglasses at Night) and smaller events (with his wife) for a living.
“Our different areas of expertise helped us tackle the different areas of the business,” they told Lovin Malta, pointing out that the tech is only one part of a venture like this.
“We kept our full-time jobs for two years before taking the plunge. We would work on POANG on weekdays from 8pm until the early hours of the morning. But what we thought would be a side project soon turned into our main focus.”
“In 2016, we decided we needed funding to take this venture forward, so we approached Harvest Technology, the technology division of Hili Ventures, to make this dream a reality. Fast-forward a few months, and we are now funded and have our own offices within the Hili Ventures building, and we are all working on this project full-time.”
It seems like hard work is paying off. Within a couple of days of going live, POANG already garnered thousands of downloads, topping the local App Store charts for free games and making it into the top 20 for free apps overall.