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Women in tech start-ups in South Africa make up less than 25% of the workforce but those that do thrive, stand out. Amanda Fischer is a partner and head of legal and compliance at Skrmiish, ensuring all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed but also, helping to pioneer a unique company that is operating on the threshold of global tech.
Coming from a background in legal and compliance, Fischer was uniquely positioned to jump on a plane with Skrmiish co-founder Chris Heaton in early 2019 to meet with regulators on the Isle of Man and start to understand the international legalities around what this plucky start-up was trying to achieve.
Based in the Isle of Man, but building out of Cape Town, Skrmiish is the world’s first app that gives any gamer the opportunity to monetise their matches in the games they love to play. Boasting the world’s first competitive blockchain-based gaming wallet, the company represents a revolution in play-to-earn and Fischer has been firmly helping at the helm every step of the way.
Building a great business
“I joined Skrmiish before there was even an office,” laughs Fischer, “and we have been through all the usual challenges that tech start-ups face. But we have always remained focused on building an exceptional business by making gaming more exciting for players. Enabling them to earn while playing, having fun and by proving their superior skills. It’s a unique model.
“Top-level esports competitors make up less than 1% of a 3 billion player market. Skrmiish is focused on the other 99%,” she says.
Fischer graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2001 and has been practising law both locally and internationally for over 17 years, consulting for hotels and casinos. “Skrmiish is a unique challenge for me as we are operating in new, unregulated territory. We have had to assess and evaluate our product in every country that we have launched to ensure that we are compliant and implementing best practice everywhere we go,” Fischer continues.
“Play-to-earn, mobile games, blockchain wallets, non-fungible tokens or NFT’s, and crypto assets are on the cutting edge in both the tech and legal worlds and it is exciting work,” she says.
Combining a traditional sportsbook approach with gaming, Skrmiish gives gamers the ability to back themselves for cash without needing a direct competitor or to enter a tournament. They can choose from hundreds of challenges to complete in their next match and the blockchain-based wallet gives them full control of their funds.
“With our model, players compete against their own skill-based ability so there is no element of chance like with sports betting or gambling,” says Fischer.
These features are currently only live in Europe and the UK at present, but the US and Africa will be available soon. South Africa gamers will also have access to the revamped free-to-play tournaments shortly where they can win cash prizes.
“I am passionate about businesses conducting themselves ethically and transparently, and being responsible corporate citizens that contribute positively towards society. The recent Betway scandal in the UK where they were fined for marketing illegally to minors cost the company a hefty fine and reputational damage. At best it was a careless mistake. I am here to make sure we don’t make those,” says Fischer.
“Our app is fiercely only for over 18’s and part of my job is to protect our community, keep it a safe space and make sure that we always operate above the law in everything we do. We are set to become a global force in competitive gaming – in time Skrmiish will become a household name amongst gamers.”