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Mobile gaming startup Kiwi raises $9M from Sequoia

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 10.28.19 AM
Image Credit: Kiwi

Android mobile game developer Kiwi has raised $9 million from Sequoia Capital.

All of Kiwi’s games are on Google Play’s Top 100 grossing list and are highly rated in the Google Play store.

Founders Omar Siddiqui and Shvetank Jain previously founded Trippert Labs, a social game development company that Playdom acquired in 2009. Playdom was then acquired by Disney for $763 million in 2010. Siddiqui and Jain were the forces behind Playdom hits Gardens of Time and City of Wonder. They went on to found Kiwi in 2011. The company now offers six “character-driven” games — Monsterama Park, Monsterama Planet, Brightwood Adventures, Hidden Object, Enemy Lines, and Shipwrecked. Some games, like Monster Park, are about building simulated worlds, while Shipwrecked is an adventure game, and Enemy Lines focuses on forming battle strategies.

Mobile gaming is a highly competitive market, and companies are still figuring out how to make money off it. Market researcher Interpret recently published a report that found that the average smartphone and tablet gamer spends 92 cents a month on full game apps and 79 cents a month on mobile in-game items. That is mere pennies. Mobile games are struggle to convert people into paying players.

“The mobile-game market may be a pretty big cookie jar,” said Interpret analyst Jason Coston to VentureBeat. “But the neck is rather narrow, the cookies are small, and there are a lot of hands trying to reach into the jar.”

Partner Alfred Lin said that Kiwi company is “taking a fundamentally different approach to building more than just another mobile gaming company,” which is what peaked the firm’s interest. AdMob founder Omar Hamoui also contributed, along with Guitar Hero co-creator Charles Huang. Sequoia previously invested in Kiwi back in 2011, when the company raised between $5 million to $7 million.

Sequoia has made other investments in mobile gaming. The firm led a $19 million round of funding for mobile app discovery and monetization platform Chartboost and a $6 million round for MindSnacks, which develops educational games for iOS. 

Kiwi is based in Palo Alto with an office in Bangalore, India. It has 160 employees.


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