Case Study: Run an Empire

Real world strategy running game, Run an Empire, encourages runners to race against one another to virtually control territory in their area. And with ambitions to launch the game globally, the company behind the game, Location Games, is also in a race to enter new markets.

The Run an Empire game allows runners/walkers/joggers to play a game of conquering territory in their local area whilst getting fit at the same time. Available on iPhone, the game blends three of the most heavily subscribed categories of application: health and fitness apps, location and quantified-self tools & mobile games. Learn more about the game via the video below:

The team behind Run an Empire chose to launch the game in New Zealand first back in May 2016. “We wanted to discover how real-life players feel about the game, what they think of the features (including newer ones like being able to follow their friends) and just how much the game becomes a part of their everyday life, all of which helped shape up our wider launch,” said Ben Barker, CEO & Co-founder. The team then quickly followed up with a UK launch in August 2016.

With two markets under their belt, Barker is now looking at other locations in which to launch. Finding investment is key and for this reason the company joined the Mayor’s International Business Programme mission to Slush in Helsinki in November 2016. “We’d been introduced to the event via an investor. And even though it’s a bit undiscovered by the UK market, we were impressed by the scale of it and the focus on investment.”

During the mission they were selected to join the Slush 100 pitching competition, making it down to the last 20. “That was great,” says Barker. “It led to us being connected via the competition judges to other VC firms. Gaining visibility like that really helps build connections. We had back to back meetings throughout the trip.” The company also joined the Seedcamp Pitching Competition @ Slush, arriving to the final 7.

Asked what they have planned for the next 18 months, Barker’s to-do list is long. “The game is only available on iPhone at the minute so we want to make sure it’s available on Android asap.” They are also now looking to expand into other markets in Western Europe, such as the Nordics, France, Germany and Italy.

North America is also a key market for them and Barker would consider joining a mission to the US in 2017 to learn more about the opportunities available there. “For the US, we’d be looking to enter either in New York or on the West Coast – LA or San Francisco. Meeting investors would be a key driver for attending a mission to the US – we’d love to have a US-based investor,” says Barker.

For more information on Run an Empire, please see