Junglee Games: For the Love of Skills and Easy Gaming
Gaming has undoubtedly made the market more profitable, people happier, and life more fun. But behind a good game is an even better concept that only a few can deliver to life.
Building a company that people love to work and get creative in is what Ankush Gera, Sandeep Kumar Sood and Rahul Bhardwaj did when they founded Junglee Games. Known as the fastest growing skill games company based in the US whilst doing business in India, Junglee Games packs the most thrill-seeking and action-driven games to be played on mobile and desktop.
The best thing about their games must be the finest tech brainiacs that bring insanely fulfilling concepts to life and sharpen one’s skills like a blade.
Created in the name of fun and playfulness, let’s explore the vivacious journey of the three faces behind Junglee Games.
Sharing a Common Vision
The idea behind creating a skill gaming company came from the three people who shared it.
Ankush Gera, one of the founders of Junglee Games, completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computer science and Bioinformatics in 2003 at San Jose State University. His life during his studies was not as easy as it was for most of his colleagues. Ankush went to college only for two days, and he worked at a construction company for the rest of the week. Safe to say, Ankush learned an important lesson about how to run a business right there.
Ankush built his early entrepreneurial capacities as a founder of Webampd, KintoHub, and Monsoon Company. Monsoon Company was one of the first start-ups dedicated to design, web development, and mobile applications. Their clients were Fortune 500 companies and leading start-ups. In almost ten years of building an attractive portfolio, Monsoon Company was acquired by Capital One.
Sandeep Kumar Sood studied Economics, Biology, Religious studies, and Drama at Berkeley University of California and graduated in 1994. He built his knowledge as a programmer and designer in PeopleSoft and director in eBenefits, a design and market web applications company.
With Ankush and other childhood college friends, he co-founded Monsoon Company and took the CEO role. After the acquisition, he spent 3 more years in software engineering at Capital One and then joined the team in Junglee Games.
Rahul N Bhardwaj, the third co-founder, earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in 2006. His first entrepreneurial experience was the founding of TwitBiz, SportChimp, TLAbs, and Owl Capital.
Most of these businesses failed down the line but came with valuable lessons Rahul learned.
The product or service the entrepreneur offers should be a solution to a problem, even yours. He was single at that time and wanted to date South Asians. So he came to the idea to create a dating site to solve his problem and called it TwoMangoes.
Ahead of Their Time
Junglee Games is a company built in the USA to do business in the Indian market. The idea for online gaming in India came around a decade ago when the internet’s penetration was low and usable.
During Rahul’s stay in India in 2011, he talked with Ankush to do some local research to find out if there were opportunities for launching a gaming business there. Ankush was not in gaming that much, but he knew the Indian market was untapped due to the country’s population.
He learned that skill games are quite the catch in India and wanted to get as many incentives as possible. Pulling off a mass multiplayer game without technology basics looked complex, but Ankush stuck to it and convinced the team to trust the creative process alongside him.
Junglee Games is Building the Great Team
Junglee Games was founded in 2012 in San Francisco. Once the platform got built, Ankush went to India to hire a COO. He also hired a man for housekeeping, who previously served tea at a restaurant. Ankush couldn’t believe how great the man was at playing games. In fact, he was better than the actual quality assurance engineer. It was clear that the housekeeper deserved a more promising career, given his talent, so Ankush made him a senior QA Engineer.
Positive values and strong company culture were the pillars of Junglee Games. Ankush proved that building the right team will push the company forward and keep them longer. At Junglee Games, there is no micromanagement, and mistakes are there to identify, fix and learn more. Moving forward is encouraged, whereas employees can evolve professionally and stress-free. Mental wellness and employment care are also part of the company package.
The games the company offers were developed to be played on a browser and to be uncomplex but fun. The games didn’t require a lot of phone memory and could be played on smartphones. Their simplicity yet catchiness were the factors that drew in the audiences. From their first-ever game, Junglee Rummy, Junglee Games earned $10 million in GTV. Two years later, the revenue was 10 times higher. The company’s second game, Eatme.io, went live globally next.
In 2019, with the launch of Pool King, the number of users reached 25 million, and revenue increased to $600 million in GTV. Next year, Fantasy sports brand Howzat went live, while Solitaire Gold & Carrom Club a year after.
Junglee Games Funding
The beginning of the Junglee Games was not easy regarding financing. Finding the right way to fit in with the Indian market was a tough nut to crack for the gaming team. But, Ankush raised money from friends and family to bootstrap the company and its profits.
His passion for gaming and sense of business were reasons to invest in ventures in various online gaming segments. There was suitable support that Junglee Games got from Velo Partners, an investment company in global gaming.
In 2014, Junlgee Games raised $3.5 million in 2 funding rounds. The same year, the company acquired Game Ventures, and 5 years after, they acquired Algorin TechLabs.
Over the course of a decade, Junglee Games managed to reach $2 billion in revenue and earn more than 75 million users who consider the company a true leader in online skill games.
Junglee Games, Today
Today, Junglee Games is based in San Francisco, where it was primarily established. Further, it has more than 600 employees in 7 countries. Given the diversity that the company promotes, it is no surprise that its employees speak over 15 languages between them.
The cultural versatility, the differences in background, and employees’ skills give the company a unique way of creating an environment for open discussion and daily learning.
Junglee Games was rewarded as one of the top 15 supreme places to work in India. Since its launch, only a few people have left the company to continue their careers in a different direction. This shows just how unifying and beneficial the gaming brand’s mission remains.
With a knack for engaging the crowds and creating games everyone loves to play - newbies to experts - Junglee Games sits proudly at the top of the industry chain. And given its sublime working environment, high-energy employees, and overall genuineness that helped the company creators bring this vision to life and reap its fruits. Rewards aside, what makes Junglee Games a unicorn in its environment is its lighthearted and dynamic approach to life and its undying desire always to grow better and bigger!