Lumikai leads $1M seed investment into social gaming studio Bombay Play
Updated: May 26, 2021
Today we’re thrilled to announce Lumikai’s investment into Bombay Play. alongside Leo Capital and PlayCo
Great teams make great companies, and we’ve been big fans of co-founders Oliver Jones and Abhas Saroha since we first met two years ago over coffee in Bangalore. Oli is one of India’s pre-eminent game designers, having led design at Glu Mobile and Zynga, before going on to co-found Moonfrog Games where he helped create Teen Patti Gold, India’s most successful card game. Abhas compliments Oli’s design experience perfectly, having led engineering at Zynga, Moonfrog, and Makemytrip.com.
With thousands of new games hitting app stores each month, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for new companies to break out. One of the few tried and tested ways to differentiate is a laser focus by the right team in the right white space.
Casual card, board and strategy games represent a combined addressable audience of over a billion users, yet current incumbents remain stuck in the past. These categories are ripe for disruption by a new generation of live, social, multiplayer titles enabled by frictionless instant platforms, and built on highly scaleable cross platform tech. Oli and Abhas have over 14 years experience developing fan-favourite card and strategy games that have reached over 100M users, and are taking those learnings to build a next generation portfolio of live, multi-player social games at Bombay Play.
New category leadership also requires a new approach. Bombay Play has built a unique thesis identifying multiple disrupt-able legacy genres with large, dormant userbases. The team builds MVPs first for instant gaming platforms, scaling users rapidly to test and iterate before deciding which titles transition to app stores for long tail resource support. Innovation in incumbent spaces requires a high conviction culture of build fast, fail fast. Bombay Play’s culture is built ground up for iteration and innovation, with multiple small cells creating, refining, and learning from every experiment, even failed ones.
An example of this was Bombay Play’s India-first partnership with The Pokemon Company in Japan. In two months, one of their cells ideated, developed and launched Pokemon Tower Battle which was played by over 1.2M users within its first week on Facebook’s instant gaming platform.
While it’s still early days for the Bombay Play team, their first original live social game Card Party has already hit 10M downloads in its first year. With the new funding round, the team has ample runway to iterate and scale multiple new titles-four new games planned for release over in the coming year, with MAUs projected to hit 5M by end of 2021.
The studio is already profitable, and it’s time to accelerate and scale. This seed round was opened exclusively for Lumikai, who also led the round. We’re also thrilled to join existing investors Leo Capital, and PlayCo — the next-generation gaming superpower team led by Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron, which recently raised a $100M Series A at a $1 billion valuation.
There’s never been a better time to double down on social games. In a post-Covid world, friends, family members, and even strangers are looking for new ways to connect, to relate, to compete, and to share. The need for social connection remains universal, and transcends traditional game archetypes.
This is Bombay Play’s mission, and we’re excited to play a part in their story.
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