Wobblrs, a soccer-specific tailgating game, is refocusing its niche on youth development, said Roberto Camacho.
The game, which involves two self-righting pins for players to knock over by kicking a soccer ball, is proving to be a valuable exercise in aiming, as well as a basic introduction to soccer, said Camacho.
“I had a few at home and just laying around. My kid all of a sudden is like kicking a soccer ball at it because she saw me doing it and she was super into it for like a good 10 minutes,” said Camacho, who developed the game with cofounder Max Hasselquist. “She was 2 at that point and to get her to do anything for 10 minutes was insane.”
Camacho, a graphic designer for Whiskey Design, and Hasselquist, who is a teacher in the Olathe school district, first developed Wobblrs when the two began tailgating together to keep up a college friendship strained by their growing families and jobs, he said.
The partners set up water bottles as the pins and tried to knock them over to make the other drink, though they felt like they spent more time resetting the water bottles than playing the game, said Camacho.
“We literally picked up a water bottle and were like, “For this game, how can we make it better?” So water bottles are our competitor … but the advantage [with Wobblrs] is that you no longer have to pick it up,” he added.
The partners wanted to scale the idea, but had no idea how to start, Camacho said.
“I think we mentioned that if we each throw like five grand at it and it happens — but we don’t make our money back — that’d be fine. We’d be able to have something that we say, ‘We made it.’ That was how much we knew about business: nothing,” he said.
Hasselquist and Camacho enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Scholars program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, while staying at full-time jobs, said Camacho.
“I think if you have a do-it-yourself attitude and educate yourself well, anything can be done,” he said. “Sometimes it is that patience that lets you kind of stick with it because not everything works out the way that it’s planned, not everything takes the time that you think it’s going to take. I do see how many people or how many small businesses sometimes just don’t work out. Especially in the beginning, you put a lot more into it than you’re going to get back, not even just monetarily.”
After a kickstarter that led to a limited releases of the game, the founders secured a partnership with Brookside Soccer Club to deliver a training aspect of the game, said Camacho.
Though both continue to work full-time jobs, the partners each dedicate time to furthering Wobblrs after the typical workday ends, he added.
“We both have kids and families, so I try to get home and make sure that I’m only present and tuck the girls in, and then my second shift starts for Wobblrs,” Camacho said. “It’s very similar for [Max] as well. His day starts a lot earlier and ends a lot earlier than mine, but we just kind of tag team and see what we need to get done.”
The partners are working to evolve the product, he said, and they have several ideas like adding an LED light and a transparent top, so it flashes when the pin is hit. “We know that we want to make it make it better. So anything that comes up next, we’ll handle it. That’s how we’ve done it the whole time,” he said. “Just going to take one day at a time.”
Watch Wobblrs 2017 Kickstarter video below.