We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Novis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scott, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
After building GameTruck into a successful national franchise, I met Dave McClurg who was the president of Fathers.com (he has since become my partner). With his help, I saw we could do more than simply throw great parties. We could make a difference in the lives of children. By 2020 70% of 11-year-olds have falling out of team sports. And this is PRE-COVID! I saw this at my kid’s middle school. 144 young boys went out for the baseball team. They picked 14. The next year, 20 went out. What happened to 124 kids who wanted to play baseball? We started our esports company Bravous to give everyone a chance to play. I wanted to fight social isolation. Our focus is to create an environment where you could make a friend by playing games with people you could actually meet and hang out with. When COVID hit, we saw our business explode in the collegiate market where isolated students wanted to stay connected. We began hosting hundreds of virtual events we call a virtual esports open. These are fun accessible video game events designed to create student engagement and give the kids a fun interactive way to stay in contact. They have proven to be extremely popular. Now we are seeing not only major Universities but also cities like Maricopa, and Surprise launch successful esports programs with our help. Our commitment to human connection spreads across everything we do.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I will tell you the one thing that really sets Bravous Esports apart from other companies. We are self-funded. We focused on delivering real value to paying customers and we do it. I can not begin to tell you how liberating that is. It really lets us focus on creating experiences our customers love and want to tell their friends about. This means we have the luxury to zero in on what makes for a great esports event for the MAJORITY of the participants. So many other companies focus on sponsorships, or investors, or providing competition for the elite few. I don’t envy them at all. Those are hard things to excel at. However, our focus is more personal. We want to create an environment where you can make a friend. That means we run esports tournaments completely different from most people. Here is just one example. Our highest value is inclusion. If you show up, we are going to find a way to get you into a game. We call it, “yes, you can play.” This is practically unheard of in esports where so much attention is lavished on the top players the entry-level players often get overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, we look after our winners too, but we put just as much attention into the entire experience that players frequently rave about how much fun they had. That’s what we are after. A memorable event where people make friends.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, I am a bit of an introvert so I am not sure I could entertain someone for a week, but for me, I would probably take them on a grand tour of things starting with food. I am also assuming that COVID has been squashed by the vaccine and that the state is largely open and safe again (dream with me here people!) I would start out at Carolina’s Mexican Food on 12th and Mojave. I think that is a must. No frills, south of the ballpark. Authentic. Best tortillas in town for my taste. Then I think we have to try some beef. I think Arizona steaks are underrated. I would either take them to Durants on Central. The steaks are incredible and the martinis are top-notch. Plus that place has amazing character. I would introduce them to the Vine Tavern and Grill in Tempe, my favorite spot for Chicken Wings. And I would have to take them to Bobby-Q’s in Mesa for the best BBQ in town. Now how do we burn off all that amazing food? A hike to the top of Piestewa Peak would help. Probably followed the next day by a stroll at South Mountain. We could do an electric bike ride around old town Scottsdale (and stop a the Sugar Bowl for a pick-me-up). I think a visit to the Heard Museum and the Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West. Depending upon the time of the year, a game at one of our local sports teams would be fun and entertaining. I am partial to the DBacks, but if Spring Training is in, we could practically tour the MLB in a week, jumping from city to city catching improbably and exciting matchups in our amazing baseball facilities. If you can get tickets to a Cardinals game that’s a great experience, Suns Basketball. There is so. much for the sports fan here, I forgot ASU athletics. Just pick something and go. There are so many amazing local eateries I haven’t listed like Tarbelles, The Capital Grille, Steak 44, Mastro’s Ocean Club, and more. Not to mention breweries. San Tan in Chandler, OHSO in Arcadia, Fate in Scottsdale, and Sleep Dog taproom in Tempe. If my friends ride, I would tell them we need to take a Harley Ride out to Tortilla Flats. The views, the road, and the wind especially this time of year are amazing. And I have to tell you that is the kind of host I am. A little random, eclectic, and enthusiastic. I LOVE living in Arizona.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who have helped me and my company in our journey. I want to thank the Boys and Girls Club of Phoenix for believing in our esports program enough to try it. I want to thank Rebelle Events for tracking me down and convincing me we had to bring the Bravous brand of esports to colleges and universities. I want to thank MagComPlus for helping us get the word out. I want to thank Brandon Wiele for stepping up and running the GameTruck ship while I went off to play visionary and dream up Bravous Esports. I want to thank Karen Mendoza, my friend, and partner for leaving Nintendo to join us on this wacky journey in Entrepreneurship. We wouldn’t be where we are without her enthusiasm, creativity, and brilliant insights. I want to thank Dave McLurg, who left Fathers.com to join us in building Bravous Esports and reinvigorating the entire GameTruck team. I want to thank the Entrepreneurs Organization of Arizona (EO Arizona) for helping me grow as a business owner, executive, and human being. I could not have attracted such an amazing leadership team without their help. And of course, I want to thank my amazing wife Stacy for cheering me on through all this incredible challenge and growth.