What started as a bit of a joke amongst mates, is well on its way to becoming a profitable Brisbane start up and has brought some up and comers into the tech spotlight. Before they’ve even finished their university degrees.
Queensland University of Technology students, Jackson Grant, Greyden Scott and Oliver Collins were enjoying some downtime between studies, having a few laughs over pizza and beers in the QUT Foundry when they dreamed up Pizza Roulette, a game of chance and pizza.
The game rules
It’s a simple concept. 15 Australian participants pay $2 each to take a spin at live online roulette from 5pm-7pm each day. The winner walks away with a Dominos pizza (as long as they’re nearby a store). Once one roulette spin fills up, another frees up for the next round of players, meaning there can be hundreds of games and players in any one evening.
Building a single page application
The first version of Pizza Roulette was built within 4-6 weeks and launched at the end of Semester 1, 2019. The team chose to build a single page application as it was easier to maintain than a native mobile app and updates would be instantaneous. Pizza Roulette is integrated with Stripe (for secure payments processing) and Dominos (for delivery of the all-important prize).
Jackson Grant emphasised that data security was of the utmost importance to his team and for that reason they don’t hold any credit card information. That is all managed by Stripe.
Taking the idea to the market
The launch was limited to the university campus but live streamed on Facebook and helped raise more than $400 for the Foodbank. Next the trio started live streaming Pizza Roulette every Friday night until one Friday the live stream wasn’t available. They launched the site that evening anyway and discovered that more people were playing without the live stream than with it. It was a logical next step to open up Pizza Roulette to players every night of the week.
What started as a bit of on-campus fun, now has more than 2,700 unique players (some of whom play an average of three times per night) from all over Australia and sells more than 100 pizzas each week. And this venture has attracted the attention of a major pizza chain.
The team is now building for their future. Aside from growing their players base and chatting to pizza chains, the Pizza Roulette team has a roadmap that includes vegan options and an integration that will allow the winner to purchase add ons (ie garlic bread or a soft drink) after their win. Because, let’s face it, it’s pretty rare to order a single pizza without garlic bread and a dessert.
Jackson Grant’s advice to new founders is threefold. “First, launch as early as possible. We could still have been developing today because it never feels like it’s ever ready. And when we did launch, we had a lot of problems; the payment system was down one night and another evening it was the server meaning our players couldn’t access the website. But people will use it, even if it isn’t polished.
Second, be open to your users’ feedback. We created an online culture where feedback and product improvements are part of our brand. We know not to take the comments personally but to feed them into product development.
And finally, even ideas that start as a joke require late nights, long hours and hard work.”
These three founders aren’t due to graduate until 2020 but Pizza Roulette is unlikely to be the only tech listed on their resumes.