Portfolio Company #2: Goama

A couple of months ago, we decided to invest in our second portfolio company, Goama, and today, I will walk you through why we decided to invest in the company.

How We Met

I first saw Goama’s booth as a “Netflix for Games” in 2018’s SWITCH (Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology) Launch Dinner (in which I was participating as an angel investor). I was intrigued by their Games-as-a-Service model. It was something that I have seen working on X-box and PlayStation, but not on the mobile phone. Unfortunately, I missed the founders as they were probably doing something else, somewhere else.

I met William from SOSV about angel investing, venture funds, and how to raise money from LPs about a year back (I think it was July/August 2020), and he kindly made an introduction for me to a few of their portfolio companies, including Goama.

Taro (the founder) and I then had a face-to-face meeting (that was April 2021) at Novena’s Slow Bakes while I was having my (very overdue) lunch. We had a good time discussing where his business was going and about his journey as an entrepreneur. We had been keeping tabs on him since 2018 and saw that the company grew from strength to strength. I told him honestly that we were still raising capital from LPs and he was OK with it.

Eventually, we managed to get in our first LP, Gideon (CEO of Shalom Movers Group), and he agreed to fund me US$50k to kick start my entire fund management journey (so thank you for that push and your trust Gideon). We then used that money to “knock” on Goama’s door again, this time saying that we would like to invest. Thankfully, Taro agreed (man, I must be a lucky man).

What is Goama?

Goama is a gaming platform built for businesses. The company has combined the best of esports and the best of casual games to create a casual esports gaming platform where players compete on casual games, ranked on live leaderboards, to win real-world prizes.

Its turnkey solution transforms any app into a gaming powerhouse within 14 days to drive engagement. monetization and acquisition. The result is a compelling user experience with more than 15 minutes of time spent per session and increased transactions on other verticals within the app’s ecosystem as well as a social community built on the foundation of competitive gaming.

With such an engaged base of users on our partners’ apps, the company has created a new channel of experiential marketing for brands to connect at an emotional level with consumers with custom games that resonate with their story and image. The result is a win-win for brands and our partner apps, who in turn benefit from the ability to further monetize their user base as an audience.

Today, the company is present in over 18 countries with the leading super apps in key verticals of fintech, delivery, media, and entertainment. Their user base is north of 2.5million and growing, driving more than 21 million gameplays every month. It is backed by SOSV and Axiata Digital with a versatile team of 35 passionate and talented individuals operating across 9 countries in Asia and Latin America.

Check out their LEAN Canvas here:

Our Investment Thesis

  1. Hypercasual games have seen unprecedented growth in 2019/2020. It is estimated that the approximate market for hypercasual games to be in the region of $2 billion to $2.5 billion in annual revenue. (The Truth About Hypercasual Games, Venture Beat)
  2. Founders have previously worked together well in Myanmar, with Wayne (co-founder and CTO) being Taro’s client in the latter’s previous startup, VillageLink.
  3. So far, we have seen very strong growth trajectory, with founders having pivoted away the business from a B2C subscription model (similar to Netflix) to a B2B subscription model to offer consumers free access to the games. This allows a stronger user base and hence opportunity to grow partnerships with other potential super-apps such as Grab and Go-Jek.
  4. Despite being a 4-year-old company, the business has expanded pretty globally, with strongholds in SEA, LATAM, China, Bangladesh, India and Russia. This gives them the first mover advantage to capture a global play, something not usually seen in companies that have raised sub-US$5m rounds.
  5. Valuation seems reasonable considering their growth rate, with potential to reach US$800m to US$1.5bn in the next 6 years or so.

If you want to learn more about our investment thesis and also our fund, please feel free to reach out at lance@gamerforce.ventures, we would love to here from you.

From: Lance Quek | Founding Managing Partner | Gamerforce Ventures

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