Uwe Lenhoff

A world in which electronic sport can make you rich and where virtual reality will make your life significantly easier. According to the German entrepreneur and technology expert Uwe Lenhoff, this is the exciting future of the next generation. “With virtual reality you can create anything you want. Any setting or situation. Daily life will never be the same once virtual reality goes mainstream.”

First online gambling platform

Uwe Lenhoff is one of the biggest shareholders in electronic sports and virtual reality in Germany today, but obviously his expertise and passion for technology did not happen overnight. In 1994, Lenhoff was the first person to develop software for online gambling, and became a pioneer in the, at the time, non-existing industry. “Together with five partners, I created a platform for online gambling. This was a day and age where gambling only happened in real life. The internet was still a strange phenomenon which hardly anyone was using yet. Imagine; nobody even had an email address! There were no guidelines to build an online platform for gambling whatsoever. We started this business completely from scratch.” Yet a mere few years later, over 10.000 players were engaged in online betting through Lenhoff’s gambling platform. “Back then this was a very large number as not many people trusted the internet, let alone use the web itself,” Lenhoff explains. Despite the huge success of the platform, the five partners were forced to close down the company due to internal conflict. Yet Lenhoff saw this closure as the perfect opportunity to help other gambling business make their online shift. “I became a consultant and gave other companies advice on how they should move online. Because of my own experience, I was able to help these companies develop, grow and expand.”

Electronic Sports

After playing a vital role in the evolvement of online gambling, Uwe Lenhoff moved his sight onto the evermore-popular world of electronic sports. Esports, or electronic sport, refers to all electronic shooting games, strategic games and sport games and targets. The online sport games target the 12-30 year olds and concentrates in countries where technology is most developed such as China and South Korea. “Esports is the future for the young generation. Esports is not only gaming, it has become a culture. For example, there are massive platforms that document everything about esport. We make movies about esports and we organize big tournaments. Youngsters train to make a living out of it.” According to the German businessman, the price pools for esports in Asia are way higher than normal sport. “If you can become a professional esporter, you can make a serious amount of money. The highest price pool for a real life tennis tournament is 12 million. In esports, this is 20 million- almost double!” Although esports is becoming bigger and bigger in Europe, Asia still has the biggest market for this industry by far. And it is not only technological advances that increase the demand in the East. According to Lenhoff cultural differences play a big part as well. “In Asia, people don’t enjoy going out as much as in the West. There is much less of a clubbing or gambling culture, which are both spare time activities that are very popular in Europe. Generally speaking, in Asia people prefer to play games in their spare time. Video games. Online gaming and esports is a social activity for them. The sports are performed in teams and people engage in competitions. It is a fun way of meeting other people.”

Virtual Reality

Aside from electronic sports, Uwe Lenhoff also greatly invests in companies that focus on the development of virtual reality (VR). Lenhoff is involved in a VR company that can reproduce any nature landscape imaginable. After putting photographs of landscapes in the computer, VR technology allows these pictures to transform into any requested setting. “We can create any setting our customer wants. Rain, sun, storm, snow; anything. Think how handy and convenient this can be for the movie industry. We spoke with Hollywood and they said VR is the way forward in the future. The production crew and film cast no longer have to travel across the globe in order to shoot all the scenes. With VR any landscape can be reproduced in the studio. Not only will this lessen the costs, but it will also save time. Hollywood film productions will become cheaper and quicker, while the footage will look more than real.”

A sneak preview

Yet virtual reality is a tool that can be used for much more than the creation movie settings. Uwe Lenhoff indicates that, in the near future, VR can also benefit healthcare and travel. “Thanks to VR, you will able to make a trip to an destination in the world. Imagine booking a holiday- before you depart you will be able to see the hotel rooms, the town, the beaches, etc. VR allows us to get a sense of any place, but without going there. Like a sneak preview.”