Innplay’s Amazing Run to Success
This month’s blog post is very different from anything we have done in the past. This time we wanted to give you a unique opportunity to “look under the hood” of vgames and one of its most unique investments to date.
So, for this article, I’ve interviewed Ore (Co-founder & CEO of InnPlay), Eitan (founder of vgames), and Daniel (Partner at vgames)
Can you share how Ore and you got to know each other?
Eitan: Several years back I was called to interview for the Zell entrepreneurship program, I am an alumni and as part of the screening process, we help with recruiting future students. Into the room walks a guy named Ore, with an endless amount of charisma, a special attitude, straightforward and honest. After 2 minutes I told him that if he is not accepted to the program we are missing out on probably one of the strongest entrepreneurs I came across. From that day Ore and I became very close.
Fast forward a bit, I'm in the process of setting up vgames. Ore and I met, and he shared with me that he wants to set up a games studio. The same hunch I had for Ore when he walked in for the interview, I had again when he told me that he was ready to build a company. From that day on we became partners, built Innplay together with Oshri and Elad, launched a game, made endless mistakes, grew insanely fast, and after three years reached another unbelievable milestone - selling the company.
What was special about the founders?
Eitan: Everything! But if I need to crystallize:
1. Hard Working
4. Business Mindset
5. Play an endless amount of games
6. Outstanding founders’ relationship
Why did you believe in this category?
Daniel: Animals & Coins is a great example of a mass-market game type appealing to a broad audience of users, with both long-term retention and strong monetization. The category expanded a lot in the last few years and still growing exceptionally.
Innplay found a precise way to innovate on the core loop with a hybrid casual angle while leveraging proven social hooks to keep the players engaged and monetized in the long term. Their ability to operate the game while constantly adding new mini-games, creating user anticipation for new experiences making Animals & Coins an evergreen title with endless scale potential.
The Turning Point
Was there ever a moment where you thought to yourself, that you and your team have built something outstanding?
Ore: To be honest, I've never experienced this sentiment, and even today, I believe that my partners and I share the same perspective on this matter - the game has still room to grow more. At Innplay, we always aim for more, better, faster, and stronger. There was and still is, always actually, something to improve within the game and how we operate it. There’s always something we can do to make things better. So having that mindset, I always feel we can and should do better.
What allowed Innplay to grow that fast?
Daniel: From day one Innplay was a true analytical powerhouse with a strong synergy between the product and marketing. Investing in developing a top-notch BI system with a robust LTV model helped the company focus on driving profitable marketing early on. Having clear KPIs across marketing and product combined with the ability to experiment and iterate fast constantly drove incremental growth.
Ore’s ability to focus the company's efforts on the most impactful things allowed Innplay to achieve massive success in 3 years with a lean team.
Entering the Big League
Take me through what happened this year to facilitate the explosive growth you had. Ore: The growth we experienced in April wasn't attributed to a single factor; rather, it was the culmination of several months of dedicated effort in refining various aspects of the game's economy and enhancing the user experience. We conducted in-depth analyses and gained a thorough understanding of our users during this period. In April, we finally witnessed the positive outcomes of these efforts, leading to improved game key performance indicators (KPIs) and subsequently enabling us to allocate a larger budget for marketing.
That’s truly amazing, so when was the point you started thinking of selling the company?
Ore: There wasn't a particular moment when we contemplated selling the company; it simply wasn't on our radar. Our primary focus was always on fostering growth, becoming stronger, and achieving greater excellence.
However, when we reached a significant revenue milestone, inquiries from interested companies looking to acquire us began to pour in. Initially, we were able to brush these offers aside, but eventually, a call came in from a company that I personally deeply admire and think is the best in the world. I firmly believe that forging a new partnership between our companies can bring about mutually beneficial outcomes and propel Innplay to unprecedented heights.
Anything to close up? Eitan: I couldn’t be happier for the Innplay team - they are a clear demonstration of success based on hard work and humbleness. Ore: I truly believe that I'm fortunate to lead the most exceptional team globally, supported by a strong product with a very good theory behind it. However, I also believe that having a brilliant idea and a stellar team isn't solely sufficient for building something truly remarkable. Building a successful company is not just one good idea. It’s thousands of good ideas and thousands of good decisions that need to be taken along the way.
Having vgames as partners made it possible. We were lucky to have partners like Daniel, Dudi, Rony, Riki, and Eitan on our side. They were always there for us with everything we needed; knowledge, experience, connections, or good advice. Always available and always welcoming, I couldn't be more thankful.