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London Tech Week

This gaming studio founded by high school friends unlocks $7M to develop casual mobile games

Agave Games
Image credits: Agave Games

Turkey’s mobile gaming industry has enjoyed unprecedented growth in recent months. A report from research firm Sensor Tower reveals that Turkish mobile games developers’ revenues totaled $160M in Q1, 2022, a 37% jump from the same quarter in 2021.

Turkey is the fifth largest mobile game producer in Europe, by total revenue, after Germany, the UK, France, and Russia, respectively.

 In particular, Turkey has become a hotbed for the casual games industry, and Istanbul-based Agave Games is planning to capitalise on it.

Raised $7M

Agave Games, a casual puzzle game studio, announced today that it has raised $7M in a Seed round led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Felix Capital. Balderton invested in Turkish gaming unicorn Dream Games developer of Royal Match, the biggest new mobile game of 2021.

London VC Felix Capital made its first investment in Turkey – and 500 Startups.

The Turkish company plans to use the funds to triple its headcount from 12 to 40 in the next 18 months as it develops its first casual puzzle game for IOS and Android. 

In addition, Agave is looking to hire top-tier game developers and artists in Turkey to build an agile team where each employee has responsibility and autonomy over their work. 

Alper Oner, the CEO, and co-founder of Agave Games says, “At Agave Games, we have the opportunity to capitalise on our vast experience in the mobile gaming industry to create the most widespread and long-lasting casual puzzle game on the market. To have the backing and support of Rob and the Balderton team, as well as Julien and Felix Capital, who all have so much experience and faith in mobile gaming, means so much to us. There’s no doubt their help will inspire and guide us as we look to build our market-leading game in the next 12 to 18 months.”

According to a report from Newzoo, Mobile gaming is the fastest-growing game platform within the industry, generating revenues of $93.2B in 2021 — a 7.3% increase year-over-year.

Developing casual games

Alper Oner, Burak Kar, Baran Terzioglu, and Oguzhan Merdivenli, former high-school friends, founded Agave Games. They have worked on hugely successful iOS and Android games such as Zen Match, Words of Wonders, and Wonder Blast.

The Turkish company is looking to create a game that will have market dominance, and as such, the entire studio will only be working on one game at a time. 

The typical timeline for developing games is for the prototype to take six to eight months, followed by a similar time for the testing. 

Agave expects its game to be downloaded in the US, Canadian, UK, and Japanese markets initially but wants to maximise the game’s user experience to target the broadest possible audience of adults. 

Rob Moffat, the partner at Balderton Capital, says, “When Balderton invests in games companies, we focus on founders with experience building top games. What Alper, Oguzhan, Burak, and Baran have achieved in the past with games such as Zen Match, Words of Wonders, and Wonder Blast is deeply impressive. We also love the strong bond that exists between these founders from their school days together. At Balderton, we have been privileged to back some of the best mobile games companies, such as Dream Games (makers of Royal Match, the biggest new mobile game of 2021), Wooga, Big Fish, and Natural Motion. We are excited to add Agave to this select group.”

Julien Codorniou, Investor at Felix Capital, says, The team at Agave has worked on some of the biggest casual puzzle games in the world, and it’s this experience coupled with their hunger for success that makes them an exciting proposition. Agave is also our first investment in Turkey at Felix Capital, and we are thrilled to do it with these co-investors and business angels.” 

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