Moonfrog Labs: Redefining Mobile Gaming
“Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture.” - Andy Serkis
By experimenting with new ideas, companies are constantly working to make our phones more than just calling machines. This is precisely where Moonfrog Labs comes in.
Moonfrog was founded in 2013 by IT graduates Tanay Tayal, Ankit Jain, Kumar Puspesh, Oliver Jones, and Dimpalkumar Maisuriya. Starting the company took some risks, but they paid off, as today Moonfrog Labs is a notable industry name.
The company aims to change how we perceive mobile gaming and take it to the next level. From the very beginning, Moonfrog Labs has been dedicated to redefining the mobile platform and what it means to be a gamer.
Find out how the idea for Moonfrog was born and how, with the will and courage to follow their dreams, the co-founders built a successful platform with millions of users.
Education and Early Work
Moonfrog Labs is the brainchild of a few different people, all of which took different paths that led them to entrepreneurship.
Tanay entered the tech field early on and got a BE in Computer Science at the Pune Institute of Computer Technology. For the first few years post-graduation, he worked as a software engineer for companies like Infosys and Calsoft.
Eventually, in 2007, he got an MBA from INSTEAD, one of the largest graduate business schools in the world. After this, he started filling different positions, working as a program manager for NetApp and as director of product management at Komli Media.
Ankit got an MS in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and spent years working as a software engineer at Microsoft and later Google. Although technology has always been his main focus, he’s never shied away from taking on product management roles as well.
Kumar also came into the company prepared to fill tech roles, with a Master of Technology in Computer Science from the IIT Kharagpur and years of experience as a software engineer.
Meanwhile, the remaining co-founders had developed different skills fitting into the game development process. Oliver got an MA in Digital Games Theory and Design from Brunel University and worked as a game designer and design consultant.
Dimpal, on the other hand, studied applied art at B. A. Mehtakala Maha Vidyalaya. He got familiar with the gaming world throughout his years of experience as an artist for Exigent Game Art Pvt. Ltd., Indiagames Ltd., and FXLabs Studios.
All of the founders are hard-working and educated, but combining the knowledge they individually acquired throughout the years truly helped propel Moonfrog forward.
The Story Behind Moonfrog Labs
Eventually, the five founders of Moonfrog Labs all found themselves working at Zynga, a popular video game company that makes entertaining and popular games for Facebook.
The team worked on hit games like Mafia Wars, Bubble Safari, Empires and Allies, Cafe World, and more. All of their projects at Zynga became hits that are loved by millions of people and played worldwide. However, there was always an itch to do something more.
Eventually, in 2013, the team decided to start their own company where they could follow their ambitions, call the shots, and produce all the games they wanted to see.
One of the co-founders, Tanay, took up the CEO role and played an integral part in the company. He's mentored numerous people in the tech world and is one of the main reasons Moonfrog has become a staple in people's hearts.
With high hopes and the experience they gathered from their previous work, the founders dedicated themselves to building an exceptional company and took a shot at the moon.
This metaphorical shot is why they decided to name their company Moonfrog Labs and make their logo a frog in space. The depicted frog leaps towards the moon and beyond to reach new, unexplored territory – just as they're doing.
Creating Moonfrog Labs
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Moonfrog team. Indeed, startups are a lot of work, and the founders immediately faced plenty of challenges. However, everyone would cooperate to come up with solutions to every problem as it arose.
For starters, the price for bandwidth data was high and unreliable at best. This is why Moonfrog made their games use the lowest amount of data possible and operate on less battery power so that they were playable even on low-end devices.
Another issue that came up was the hard-to-maintain balance of user-friendliness and profitability. Who would want to play games where unskippable ads interrupt gameplay? And how could a company sustain itself without a revenue stream?
Luckily, CEO Tanay knew how to be both consumer friendly and make profits simultaneously. The team set up a system where ads won’t interrupt gameplay so that the player would be kept immersed at all times.
The company earns money through the monetization of cosmetics. This means their products don’t have any overpowered and broken pay-to-win mechanics. The purchases players make are all purely optional and don’t affect gameplay.
Major Steps to Success
Moonfrog Labs' first title was Teen Patti Gold, released in August 2014. It's an online family card game that became a hit in India and one of the biggest-grossing games at the time. The game has made Moonfrog a prominent name on the Indian subcontinent.
The company continued to grow as time went on, and by April 2017, it had reached 100 employees. Soon after hitting this milestone, the team released their second major title, Ludo Club – a free online version of the hit board game Ludo.
This game came with social media features where you can invite friends and family members to join. Playing together enhanced the experience and offered users a greater chance to connect.
In July 2018, Moonfrog launched its third hit, Jalebi. This hub is packed with 8 popular titles like Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Word Search, Quizzes, and Word Hunt. It was an instant hit and helped Moonfrog continue its success. By 2020, the company had over 200 employees in its ranks.
Moonfrog Labs Funding
Moonfrog Labs has had 2 founding rounds which proved to be very fruitful for the budding company. During March 2015, Moonfrog snagged a whopping $15 million in a Series A funding round from investors like Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global.
This money gave Moonfrog massive support in keeping the company running and offered a substantial financial boost for expanding the team, releasing more content updates, and developing new games,
Moonfrog Labs also owns Ulka Games, a subsidiary of theirs, and is currently the leading game-developing company in Bangladesh.
Currently, Moonfrog is still a private company and doesn’t have definitive plans to go public any time soon. The team is mostly busy working on new genre-defining technologies and games, growing its reach across all of South Asia, and winning the hearts of fans and casual players alike.
Structure and Work Ethics
Moonfrog's management is very open towards its employees, treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve. The company knows managing a good work-life balance is difficult, so they offer their employers flexible hours and paid time off when a break is needed.
The company management also likes to stay in touch with workers and has regular social engagements, from gatherings and festive celebrations to virtual talks and hangouts.
Moonfrog also offers its employers a chance to grow and hone their skills with an engaging learning environment that includes training classes, workshops, and additional educational resources.
Moonfrog Labs and a Bright Future
Moonfrog Labs and its founders understand the hardships of life – it’s not easy taking the first step, but it’s harder to face regret than a challenge. Some of the founders, like Oliver and Dimpal, have moved on to new ventures; however, the company will always be a vital part of their past.
As far as the future goes, Tanay and Kumar are still fully dedicated to Moonfrog Labs and its expansion. The Bangalore-based company does its best to keep everyone happy, from its hundreds of employees to the millions of consumers in India and worldwide.
It may seem like Moonfrog Labs has already successfully shot for the moon, but they haven’t reached the end just yet. With no intention of slowing down, the company now explores surrounding stars and keeps hard on its path to becoming a global sensation.