Kooply leverages $18 million from Microsoft and more for a mobile game development platform that’s still hidden – MovieUpdates

Mobile dominates the gaming world, with smartphone and tablet games generating $93.2 billion in revenue in 2021, more than console ($50.4 billion) and PC ($36.7 billion) combined, according to gaming market research firm Newzoo. . And that’s before you look at the thousands of popular apps out there that aren’t strictly games but rely heavily on game mechanics to entice users.

Now, premised on the idea that both professional developers and more casual enthusiasts will want to build even more mobile games in the future, an Israeli startup called Kooply is announcing funding from key investors to build out a mobile game development platform.

The company is still in stealth mode – it hopes to have a soft launch later this year – but in the meantime it has raised $18 million in a seed round co-led by Microsoft (through the M12 fund), TPY Capitial and Israeli Mobile Casino Games Giant Playtika — with Aleph Venture PartnersCapital of the entranceGlilot Capital Partners and Samsung Next also participate. The money will be used for recruitment and to continue investing in R&D and building out Kooply’s platform ahead of launch.

Kooply’s CEO Ido Yablonka — who co-founded the company with Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko last year — wouldn’t get very specific about what the company is building when we talked about the seed funding recently, instead talking about the challenge they have. identified and addressed.

That challenge is that while there are already a lot of mobile games on the market, many of them aren’t very good, neither in how they’re built, or how they meet what consumers want, or how they’re enhanced in the world — or some combination. of all three.

“If you look at the App Store and Google Play, more than 99% of mobile games will have between 50 and 100 downloads,” he said. “Sure, most of them are not very good, but 40% is adequate, 5% is very good and the rest is okay. What you should infer from those numbers is that in terms of distribution and monetization, for the adequate, okay, and very good games it was never in the game, so to speak, to pass. They were dead on arrival.”

This, he said, is because even with good ideas, only half the challenge is executing them to make an appealing game, then getting it to those who are likely to like it — hard work in itself that needs its own expertise and access to the right technology. “We’re trying to shorten that path for developers,” Yablonka said. “Our mission is that if you have a concept and know what… [you want] to build, we take on the development, assets and distribution so you can focus on that vision.”

This, he said, will bring the company both in terms of tools for experienced developers, as well as those who would like to build something, but may not have those technical skills. He said the initial focus will be on casual mobile games — an area that has seen a tremendous amount of activity in mergers and acquisitions, startups raising a lot of money to scale up and stay independent, and most importantly of all. everything, a huge audience (over 20 billion downloads expected for this year on over $19 billion in revenue).

There are already a number of game development platforms on the market or in development, with differing views on the level of expertise needed to build and for which environment. Some of the more recent fundings include Yahaha – Chinese founders with studios in Finland as well, a no-code platform focused on immersive gaming – which announced $50 million in funding; PortalOne – a hybrid and immersive platform that will start with its own games – which recently raised $60 million; and companies like Overwolf, which focus not on the games themselves, but on customizations within them; and of course some platforms for building mobile games like Unity, Unreal Engine and more.

Yablonka believes there is an opportunity to build new kinds of tools beyond what people typically get these days with no-code interfaces.

“When I see visual programming, it’s usually no less complicated than regular programming, so I don’t really get the point,” he said. “We to be allowing for very significant no-code development, including certain logic in the system, which we believe should suffice for most usage scenarios, and for users who want to go further, we will allow scriptwriting.”

If you’re wondering why founders who only talk in general platitudes are getting $18 million in a seed round, chances are they’ve shown some interesting early developments to investors, and they’re probably the have opened doors for those lenders because of their background. In this case, Yablonka has a long history of building and selling his own businesses to some of the bigger tech giants, with an interesting focus not on gaming but on security. That is an interesting angle when you consider how central the themes of data protection and cyber have become in recent years.

Yablonka knows Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko from some of those experiences, including working at ad fraud prevention specialist ClarityRay, which was eventually acquired by Yahoo (now MovieUpdates’s parent company). Zak is now the VP of R&D at Kooply and Pitelko, a data scientist by training, is the data science headquarters. The fact that there are three tech people as co-founders who have experience touching the adjacent parts of the mobile games business (security, monetization) says something, I think, about how they build a game development platform. approach, and what they see as the most valuable things to put into it.

What remains to be discovered is whether the game design community feels the same, and whether the proof is in the pudding: whether audiences are coming to the games as promised.

For now, investors are intrigued enough to punt.

“Kooply embodies everything TPY Capital looks for in a startup: a visionary, yet grounded team with mutual entrepreneurial backgrounds and close to the challenges mobile developers face,” said Dekel Persi, co-founder and managing prat of TPY Capital, in a statement. . “Add to that a bold perspective on how to democratize game development and favorable trends such as UGC’s growth in game development, as well as the prominence of mobile in this space, and this becomes an extremely compelling story.”

“We believe Kooply has the potential to create an entirely new gaming category that can conquer hundreds of millions of users,” added M12 partner Irad Dor. “Kooply is leveraging a burgeoning market disrupted by technological advances in mobile networks, devices and consumer behavior. They understand how to meet users where they are, with engaging content that makes them want to stay and join. The ability to create for the mobile domain first will become increasingly valuable as the metaverse becomes more established and consumers seek new experiences.”

“As a company, we strongly believe in encouraging and supporting visionary gaming entrepreneurs. What stood out most about Kooply’s approach was the focus on mobile native creation and the ease of use of the tools, not only to create experiences, but also to use these experiences after their creation,” added Eric Raps, Chief Strategy Officer at Playtika, to. “Kooply is one of the few companies that understands the game management challenges and lowers the barriers to adopting user-generated content and games as a creator.”

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