Ambrose credits the concept for Trick Strat to his time spent in youth sports.
“The idea has always been there,” Ambrose explained. “I’m a visual learner. When I started playing esports professionally, I needed to prepare my team and act quickly. Like my soccer and basketball coaches would depict plays on a white board, I started drawing things with pen and paper and, as technology progressed, a tablet. Other competitors noticed it, so when I stopped playing professionally, I had the time to build Trick Strat for everyone.”
“Having time” is a relative term for someone like Ambrose, who is a multitasker by nature. In addition to his esports ventures, he’s full-stack developer at a FinTech startup and is a part-time student in Penn State Great Valley’s Master of Software Engineering program.
“Time management is so important,” he said. “It’s crucial to allow for some downtime and ‘unplug’ so you don’t burn out. Fortunately, Penn State Great Valley’s programs are flexible, and I’m able to step-in and step-out as needed. When I’m traveling a lot, I can take a semester off.”
Ambrose is strategic in his academic pursuits. He’s structured his course load around tournaments and work obligations, and he’s carefully selected courses based on his career goals.
“The core courses in the program complement my full-time job,” he said. “For example, I could immediately apply concepts from the technical project management class to my job the next day. With the open electives, I’m tailoring courses to my personal ventures. I intentionally enrolled in an invention course so I could delve into the patent system for Trick Strat.”
While on campus, Ambrose heard about the inaugural Lion Cage pitch competition. Held through Penn State Great Valley’s REV-UP Center for Entrepreneurship, the daylong event allows students, alumni and community members to compete for cash prizes by sharing their business idea, product or startup.
He decided to participate — and came in first place.
“Winning Lion Cage was especially validating,” Ambrose said. “I was excited that people unfamiliar with esports understood my concept. For the first time, I felt like I could adequately summarize Trick Strat and the direction where I was headed.”
The competition became a turning point for Ambrose. His success connected him to Great Valley faculty and REV-UP staff, and after meeting with the campus’ advisory board, it was recommended that he attend the Invent Penn State Venture and IP Conference at University Park. There, he discovered the services available to Penn State’s entrepreneurial community, including legal counsel and clinics that explore patents and trademarks.