Kooply, a stealth-mode game platform enabling creative expression through mobile games and experiences, announced $18 million in seed funding co-led by TPY Capital and Microsoft’s venture fund M12, as well as Playtika. Additional investors include U.S.-based Aleph Venture Partners, Entrée Capital, Glilot Capital Partners and Samsung Next. The capital will be used to further grow the team and bring Kooply’s product to market. Dekel Persi and Guy Yamen from TPY Capital, Irad Dor from M12, and Raz Friedman from Playtika have joined its Board of Directors. The investment team behind this funding round brings incredible domain expertise, industry position and a vote of confidence in Kooply’s mission.
While the company is not currently sharing full details of its product, Kooply’s vision revolves around building a game creation platform that brings together players, creators and developers in a mobile-centric community. With a re-imagined approach to game development, distribution and monetisation, Kooply will allow creators to build the games they desire and reach the audience they deserve.
“The last few years have underscored the importance of games as social interactions, a core principle of our product,” said Kooply co-founder and CEO Ido Yablonka. “We strive to nurture a global community of connected creators that develop innovative and fun mobile games. With some of the very largest gaming, console and mobile device makers backing and partnering with us, we are well positioned to introduce Kooply in 2022 and help creators engage with gamers across a wide range of possibilities which simply aren’t available today.”
According to GlobalData, mobile gaming is set to be a $272 billion industry by 2030, and is already bigger than the console and PC gaming markets combined, contributing nearly 57 per cent of global video games revenue in 2020. As usage of mobile devices – especially for gaming – surged during the pandemic, Kooply identified the need for a social platform that connects creators directly with the gamers they are creating for, allowing them to solicit input, incorporate feedback and make the best mobile games possible.
“Kooply embodies everything TPY Capital seeks in a startup: a visionary, yet grounded team with mutual entrepreneurial backgrounds, and a close proximity to the challenges mobile developers face. Add to that a bold perspective on how to democratize game development and favorable trends such as the growth of UGC in game development, as well as the prominence of mobile in this space, and this becomes an extremely compelling story,” said TPY Capital co-founder and managing partner Dekel Persi.
“We believe Kooply has the potential to create an entirely new gaming category that can capture hundreds of millions of users. Kooply is tapping into a rapidly growing market that has been disrupted by technological advances in mobile networks, devices, and consumer behavior. They understand how to meet users where they are, with compelling content they’ll want to stay and engage with. The ability to create for the mobile domain first will be increasingly valuable as the metaverse becomes more established and consumers seek new experiences,” said M12 partner Irad Dor.
Playtika chief strategy officer Eric Rapps adds, “As a company, we strongly believe in encouraging and supporting visionary gaming entrepreneurs. What stood out most about Kooply’s approach was its focus on mobile native creation specifically and the ease of use of its tools not just to create experiences, but also to operate these experiences after their creation. As an industry leader in mobile games and live operations, Playtika understands the importance and complexity of running games as a service long after the original product creation. Kooply is one of the few companies to understand the game management challenges and lower the barriers to operate user generated content and games as a creator.”
“Mobile is the largest and most important segment of the global games market and Kooply is developing the definitive mobile native gaming platform addressing this massive opportunity. As consumers now move into ever more immersive metaverse experiences, the Kooply team is uniquely positioned to transform every player into a world builder and creator,” said Aleph Venture Partners founding partner Barak Bussel.
Founded in 2021 by Ido Yablonka, Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko, for whom this is the second startup together, having previously sold ClarityRay to Yahoo. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv and has assembled a world-class leadership team dedicated to lead the next wave of mobile game development. Yablonka, the company’s CEO and co-founder, has led six previous exits to companies including Palo-Alto Networks, Tencent, and Yahoo – of which he was also the Israeli GM, and VP Product for Yahoo Search, a multi-billion dollar business. Kooply also added Ido Schwartzman to its team as CTO. Schwartzman has decades of gaming experience and is the former chief architect of CrazyLabs, a top-three global mobile gaming developer and publisher recently acquired for $200 million. Another key appointment is Eyal Biran joining as director of product, until recently head of streaming product at Overwolf, a gaming content platform which had raised $150M to date. Kooply plans to triple its employee base over the next six months.