Voodoo raises estimated $200 million from Goldman Sachs for mobile games
Mobile games publisher Voodoo has raised an estimated $200 million from Goldman Sachs. The company has plans to use it to develop a publishing hub to help mobile game developers.
In a talk at Casual Connect Europe in London, CEO Alexandre Yazdi said that Paris-based Voodoo is on track to reach a billion downloads for its games such as Baseball Boy in 2018. Yazdi declined to say exactly how much the company has raised, but Reuters and other sources put the number at $200 million.
“There is no secret, just a mindset, and a way of working,” said Yazdi.
In its first five years, the company had two games that weren’t doing well. A year and a half ago, the company analyzed its failures and applied them to its next game, Paper.io. It turned out to be a smash hit,
Established in 2013, Voodoo has nine entries in the top 25 downloaded games, including Baseball Boy, Stack Jump, Idle Balls, Dune, Rolly Vortex, Snake vs Block, and Flappy Dunk.
Gabriel Rivaud, vice president of games at Voodoo, said in the talk that the company believes in a data-driven process for taking promising games. The company has about 150 million monthly active users, and it had about 300 millon downloads last year.
“After four years of turmoil, we had to change our ways,” Rivaud said. “From data we gathered, we were able to improve our game and deliver millions of downloads.”
The company takes the learnings from the various games and applies them to the other development teams that it is working with. And once the games are published, it applies its user acquisition and monetization teams to making them more successful.
Voodoo focuses on smaller, simpler games, and it is launching about five games a month, Yazdi said.
“We don’t rely on intellectual property,” Yazdi said.
An example is Helix Jump, developed by a pair of developers in Ukraine. The team’s first titles looked beautiful, but they lacked good gameplay. They worked with Voodoo, and then Helix Jump launched and generated more than 100 million downloads.
Yazdi said the company will launch its Voodoo Hub site to help developers in the near future, with tutorials on subjects such as growth and user retention. The idea is to demystify game development and connect passion with scientific testing so developers can be more connected and create games that are played by millions of people.
“One thing we stand by is to dream big, wherever you come from,” Yazdi said.
Yazdi said the company will use the funding to continue with the growth, hire more people in Europe and the U.S., and add more tech engineers. Yazdi and cofounder Laurent Ritter still hold the majority of the shares in Voodoo.
In a statement, Alexandre Flavier, investor at Goldman Sachs, said, “We have been impressed by the
vision, execution capabilities and innovation velocity of this management team. We are enthusiastic
about partnering with Voodoo, under the leadership of Alexandre Yazdi, in this critical acceleration
phase of a French tech champion.”