This Brazilian family has big plans to make your gaming a lot more rewarding
By Brian Marks
It’s an unusually overcast morning when I drive up to the Playa Vista home of Vanessa and Danilo Salgueiro. Despite the ominous atmosphere, the Villas at Sausalito are inviting and pleasant. Although the unit is hidden away from the street, it’s surrounded by open courtyards and a broad pathway that don’t have any of the stuffiness of a gated community. It’s a cozy domestic abode that houses them and their two children, but also the site of their newest eSports venture, Lootrix, a rewards platform to help gamers get the most of their hobby.
Vanessa and Danilo have been together since 2002, the year they both started their undergraduate studies in Brazil. Originally from São Paulo, the two met while in business school. Their schooling would help prepare them for future entrepreneurship, although they had to switch roles to find a better working relationship.
“I did my master’s in finance, and Vanessa did her master’s in marketing,” says Danilo. “But now we’ve switched places. I’m the marketing guy and she’s the finance person.”
“It’s super funny,” replies Vanessa. “I don’t know how I did marketing. It has nothing to do with me — I’m totally about numbers. But it worked out in the end.”
The married couple’s greatest professional collaboration has been in the rapidly advancing field of eSports.
“Back in 2013, I decided to invest in some companies,” says Danilo. “I saw some pitches from people, and one thing that stuck out was eSports. At the time I asked people, ‘What are eSports?’ When we took a look at it, it was the same thing as traditional sports, but instead of playing with a ball, it was playing with a computer.”
The term eSports suggests some kind of futuristic version of recreation, like baseball played with jet packs, but it’s simply a new form of competition in existing video games. Players from across whole continents can compete with each other in multiplayer games, often popular first-person shooters including “Call of Duty,” “Hearthstone” and “Overwatch.” Teams compete against each other in the game, and now players can even compete professionally. Their games are often streamed on sites like Twitch, which allows for spectators to get in on the action.
Danilo and Vanessa first entered the eSports arena by purchasing a team of 22 Brazilian gamers to play for the brand Lenovo, who would all live together while playing on the team.
“In Brazil, the culture is different from the US,” explains Danilo. “They don’t leave the house. Here, you go to college, or you leave the nest. So they were all leaving their families, and they had never had that experience before. It was very good for the company and creating content, but pretty bad in terms of living in the place you work.”
Danilo and Vanessa sold their eSports team, then invested the profits into their current marketing agency, Egg & Bacon.
“It’s ‘Electronic Games and Gamers,’ and then we just added bacon to make fun of it,” says Danilo. “Actually having a business card with Egg & Bacon written on it was a big ice breaker for us.”
The Salgueiros have also created a new, millennial-friendly rewards platform for gamers and online consumers in general called Lootrix. The platform is somewhat similar to Honey, a popular website that helps to find coupons and discount codes for online purchases. With Lootrix, users rack up points whenever they make purchases at participating retailers, which can in turn be used to make other purchases. Unlike other services, though, Lootrix also lets users watch videos from advertisers or fill out surveys to help accrue points.
Although the bulk of Danilo and Vanessa’s work is built directly and indirectly around video games, they find other ways to relax at home. The kitchen, with its bright white cabinets and lightly colored wood, is a spot for family bonding. Danilo is an accomplished chef, and seven-year-old Lorena likes to make crepes, or even the occasional carrot cake.
Both the living room wall and kitchen feature multiple windows, which allow an abundance of natural light to illuminate the space. Despite the clean, modern lines of the interior, it creates a warm feeling, whether Vanessa and Danilo are working on the computer or the whole family is preparing a meal together. The space isn’t huge, but it’s just right for the family, and for Vanessa and Danilo’s ambitions.
“We pretty much have everything here,” says Danilo. “You have a gym in walking distance, a pool for the kids, the kids have friends, and the community is close. It’s small (in a way), but it’s perfect for us right now.”