Gaming – how to turn play into a lucrative business

Char Genevier – Personal Story – From playing games in school to building apps – Now, that’s cool!

My name is Charlotte Genevier and I’m the CEO and founder of the Cotery.

I had my first brush with programming when I was in six grade and we were giving TI88 graphing calculator in math class and I was the nerdy kid that decided to read the manual and one of the chapters talked about how to build a lucky seven dice game, so I proceeded to build that game and then a black jack game and then slot machine game and a whole casino that I passed around to all my classmates that we could play during maths class.

I didn’t really realize that that was something that could transfer into a career later on, it was just something fun that I could, you know, do in my spare time or during maths class instead of paying attention.

It wasn’t until I was fifteen and met my long time co-Founder Alex Benzer that I realize it could actually turn into sort of a career. I was also not entrepreneurial by spirit you know by birth basically I think I was a learned entrepreneur but Alex was definitely a born entrepreneur. He loved everything about building his own things; like he had a little message board for all the local high schools and he was just coming up with ideas all of the time for thing we could build and I really wanted to build all his ideas, you know, full discloser we dated for six years and I just started learning how to build websites and I learned HTML and then I learned PHP and then I learned about data bases and we kept making cooler products year after year and you know finally one of our, we were both working for this web contracting shop, sort of in our spare time in between school, and the CEO there said to us, ‘why don’t you sell these instead of giving them away and I’ll be your first customer?’.

And so he paid us $200.00 for this little forum script and after that we were completely hooked and for the next ten years we worked together building products and selling software online. In about my second year of college I realised that I couldn’t do both, you know, all this software, hold our company up and go to school, it was just, both of them were becoming full time jobs basically and so I chose to leave school with the blessing of my dean to work full time on our company Social Engine, which we launched in 2007 and Social Engine is a white label social networking platform we bootstrapped to profitability and you know I learned so much in that experience that I don’t actually regret leaving school at all and it’s nice that I had the support of my parents and family and teachers to go down that path. In 2011 we took Social Engine through TechStars and that’s how I ended up moving to Boulder, obviously this community here is incredible. In about December of last year I choose to leave Social Engine in order to start this new company The Cotery.