- Tripledot, a London-based company known for its popular Solitaire app, another game called Woodoku, and others, revealed today that it had raised $116 million.
- The investment places a $1.4 billion value on the London-based corporation.
- The round is led by 20VC, the firm formed by Harry Stebbings, who started investing through his legendary Twenty Minute VC podcast, then developed VC Stride with others and eventually created a fund named after his show.
Consumers’ interest in casual mobile games has reached a fever pitch, and investors are flocking to finance the largest and most promising firms developing these brief shots of engagement and distraction. In the most recent development, a London-based business called Tripledot — behind a famous Solitaire app, another game called Woodoku, and others — announced today that it had secured $116 million. The investment values the London-based firm at $1.4 billion.
The round is led by 20VC, the business founded by Harry Stebbings, who got his start in investing via his famed Twenty Minute VC podcast, later partnering with others to form VC Stride and finally launching a fund named after his program (and raising some serious money to run it). Access Industries, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Eldridge are also participating in the round, which follows a $78 million Series A in April 2021.
As was the case with the Series A, this is a sizable investment for a Series B round, and Lior Shiff — the CEO who co-founded the firm with Akin Babayigit (COO) and Eyal Chameides (CPO) — stressed that it is not to run the main business. Tripledot has indeed been successful since the ending of its first year, has expanded to over 30 million monthly active users across all of its titles, and doubled income last year.
In an interview, he stated that this fundraising is for M&A. The strategy is to acquire fascinating businesses with innovative concepts to supplement what Babayigit characterizes as Tripledot’s powerful combination of talents in generating compelling monetization methods and growing games.
Shiff noted that they’d reached a stage where they can utilize their technology and skills and want to acquire companies and use their platform to bring those fantastic games to a broader audience. They are excellent operators. That is not to suggest Tripledot lacks skilled in-house game developers, he noted. Still, many of their contemporaries succeed at creating fantastic games but struggle to turn them into profitable companies. This capital now provides them with weaponry.
About Dream Games
Dream Games, a prominent casual gaming firm at the moment (and, coincidentally, one of Babayigit’s angel investments), frequently proclaims its intention to be the next Pixar. Shiff explained that Well, they’d like to be the Activision Blizzard of the future. Casual games and their ascension to popularity as a medium (as well as their success as companies) are not new: Peak Games was acquired by Zynga for $1.8 billion in 2020, which might be considered a watershed moment in establishing the financial possibility, as well as the specialized technological execution required, for casual games.
Following that, Turkey’s Dream Games (established by Peak alumni) has been rapidly developing, raising $255 million early this year to prolong its run. Homa Games — which provides a platform for third-party developers and publishers of casual games (and competes with Tripledot) – raised $50 million in October. And Spyke, another Turkey Peak company, secured significant funding in January on the strength of its founders’ background and track record, even before publishing a single title.
Nonetheless, the subject of how popular a casual game can become, how they can attract audiences that aren’t traditionally associated with gaming, and how sometimes creating something that is the polar opposite of a calculated business decision and achieving massive success all came into sharp focus (and prompted some reflection) earlier this year with the emergence of Wordle. This straightforward word puzzle went stratospherically viral in January.
Wordle began as a puzzle written for his partner by developer Josh Wardle. It existed exclusively on Wardle’s website (no app), and Wardle never paid for or made any marketing effort. Still, it took off and gained fans among grannies, school children, and everyone in between due to its simplicity, scarcity (only one puzzle every 24 hours), and just the right amount of challenge/reward mechanics. (My friend’s elderly mother plays it on a computer and sends her results via very fuzzy images of her display since she does not own a smartphone.)
As Wardle explained in a January interview, he received some inbound calls from investors. Still, he was more surprised than prepared to consider what to do next (save for ensuring the game could handle the sudden onslaught of traffic it was sending to servers), as he had no intention of turning it into a business.
Finally, he sold Wordle to The New York Times, which now hosts it. He plans to incorporate it into their own modest word puzzle-based casual gaming business (which is fitting, as it served as some of the inspiration for building Wordle in the first place). Shiff stated that Tripledot did not explore purchasing Wordle, but its creators admired the use cases and possibilities for revealed casual games.
“My mother and aunt are the ones who are performing these,” he explained. “They’d never admit to being gamers, yet they’ll spend an hour on these. Perhaps as a mental break or while waiting for the dentist, they may have utilized puzzle books in the past but now play on their phones.”
Babayigit noted that Tripledot has no plans to develop web-only games or to release titles solely for audience building without a business purpose — all potential “lessons” one could take from the likes of Wordle: which was perhaps attractive for being a kind of unicorn — not the $1 billion startup kind, but the kind that exists in a bubble-free of the trappings of reality, where games must earn money to remain viable. There appear to be many additional opportunities for development and variation in the long term.
According to Babayigit, casual games are still neglected. Recent debuts of Dream, Wordle, and others have spawned a global population of 2 billion players, and they believe that consumers are increasingly seeking out new forms of experiences and games. Wordle demonstrates this. There are still so many more games that could be developed for such audiences. And this is also what investors perceive.
According to Stebbings, Tripledot’s growth rate and effectiveness in developing successful, highly retentive games are unrivaled. Tripledot’s leadership is distinctive; they have established an organization that has grown swiftly while maintaining a dedication to quality and a strong business culture that understands how to recruit and retain the industry’s top personnel. They are excited to be a part of the Tripledot adventure.