This post was originally published on Defender Network

By Jodie B. Jiles

African-Americans may enjoy playing games and buying games and consoles, but we are not necessarily represented in the industry as developers, event coordinators or chief marketing officers.

Esposure, Inc. CEO Danny Martin is an exception. In 2017, he founded the global esports technology company with an education to entertainment ecosystem “E2” focused on developing the next generation of professionals and competitive gamers. 

Their cutting-edge ecosystem is designed by gamers to educate, entertain, engage and empower.  Esposure has an 8,000-square foot facility in Duncanville, Texas that leverages dynamics of management, marketing and technology involved in the production of esports competition. Seventy-five percent of the Esposure staff is under the age of 25.

Martin grew up in Dallas, where sports was ingrained in his DNA, earning him an opportunity to run track at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

His love of competition helped him discover an opportunity in esports. He grew curious about the industry and its ever-changing technology, software and hardware. 

“I can specifically remember the moment where one of my teammates’ console was inoperable and that was the moment where I was like ‘If I can figure this out I can fix all the consoles across the entire campus.’  And I quickly identified once he gave me his console to fix, I had to learn how to fix it,” he said.

“That was my first opportunity to offer warranty.  I told him, ‘If I cannot fix your console I will buy you a new console.’  That put pressure on me because buying a console in college was incredibly hard.”  

Martin took the console to a nearby repair shop and watched as the work was performed. He eventually brought in hundreds of consoles for repair which enabled Martin to learn every component.

He collected data on the games his clients on campus were playing and started launching on-site tournaments, making him the go-to party promoter in esports before the term was even coined.

The experience of hosting tournaments opened the doors for Martin to secure employment with a start-up tech company in San Francisco. He realized that applying what he knew was critical for securing employment straight out of college. He identified how he could help other young people develop their portfolios in an industry that he loves.

Martin converted his loft in Dallas into a gaming space for others while at the same time developed his business platform to create an environment for individuals to compete.  

The Defender spoke with Martin about Esposure, its successes and more.

How Esposure works

For teachers and parents that want to get exposed to the industry, we basically say here is a three-hour experience where you can come to our facility, take a tour and listen to our staff. 

Danny Martin, Esposure CEO

“We call it Pathway to Pro.  We have about six programs that we are trying to build to stand over a three-year time span…The first program is called ‘Discover Live,’ which is essentially a field trip experience that can also be utilized as a professional development session. For teachers and parents that want to get exposed to the industry, we basically say here is a three-hour experience where you can come to our facility, take a tour and listen to our staff ultimately reaching our arena where we can facilitate an esports tournament with your son, daughter or students.  

Then we have ‘Uncovered’ which we bring in subject matter experts to talk about the industry in the capacity that they are working in. ‘Emersion’ is a four-week program that allows students on the first week to log in on our technology platform and learn management marketing technology competition production on that first week, take assessments, and on that second week we pair the students with groups of five where they assume the roles of traditional organizations…”

“[Our biggest success was] coming to the realization that we are a tech company providing educational opportunities.

Danny Martin, Esposure CEO

Biggest success

“[Our biggest success was] coming to the realization that we are a tech company providing educational opportunities. When it came to finding a team I would go into high schools and ask the teacher if I could come in and speak to their class because I am looking for a graphic designer to tell them ‘this is what esports is’ and ask if anyone has a portfolio…There was one point where I went to see an individual by the name of Aaron Tang, who had a beautiful portfolio of graphic designing and I hired him on the spot once I saw his portfolio.  And he has literally been a part of our company the last four years and has worked on clients like the NFL, NBA and ESPN.”

Community involvement

“Leveraging the exposure and the reach of our media outlets to put pressure on the leaders within a specific geographical location…Before we even spoke to schools we did an event for area mayors that wasn’t supposed to be for esports but they used our facilities…We were thinking if we can introduce them to esports it can be a great opportunity for them to engage with their community members.  So, we allowed the mayors to compete in Rocket League and see on the stage the mayor from Dallas against Desoto’s mayor and Cedar Hill versus Lancaster.”