PlaySimple: From Indian Startup To Global Success
Games aren’t just a fun way to pass the time but a wonderful means to connect!
Today, mobile games are slowly becoming a more prominent part of our interactions with friends and family. This opens up space for many new companies to bloom and bring exciting and original ideas to the table.
One of the leading publishers of online word games in the digital world is PlaySimple. The Bengaluru-based game development startup was founded in 2014 by brothers Siddharth and Siddhanth Jain, along with Preeti Reddy and Suraj Nalin.
From the beginning, all the founders were committed to building an exceptional global company. They knew if they were successful in the international markets, they’d be successful in India too.
But how did our four co-founders come to be at the right place at the right time to launch the international success that is PlaySimple? Let’s hear their story and how they established themselves in the gaming industry.
The Team Behind PlaySimple
Siddharth was diligent and motivated from childhood. After completing his High School studies in 2004, he enrolled in Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), which is one of the top-ranked Indian schools. He studied Information Technology and later, in 2009, got a tech MBA in IT and Marketing from the same university.
Meanwhile, his younger brother Siddhanth graduated from Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, earning a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He went on to further his education and got a Master of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 2013.
Their co-founder, Suraj Nalin, also took a huge interest in the tech world and got a Bachelor of Technology in CS and Engineering from the IIT Roorkee. He graduated in 2008 with a CGPA of 8.86, which translates to around 3.6 on the 4.0 scale.
Finally, Preeti Reddy is a Carnegie Mellon alumnus with an MBA in Strategy, Finance, and Organizational Behavior. Although she didn’t always plan to end up in the gaming industry, her university years equipped her with the knowledge and skill necessary to handle everything the future had in store.
It’s been stated that the company’s success is due to all of the founders’ strengths brought together. Thus, all this early work eventually played an important role in their entrepreneurial endeavor.
Before starting their own company, the founders had various jobs – some as a passion and others as a means to earn money.
Siddharth took up a few managerial positions after graduating from university. He was a product manager at Komli Media and went into corporate sales management at Webaroo. Eventually, however, he settled into a job position at Zynga.
Siddharth started as an assistant product manager, but after 2 years of work, he climbed the ranks and became a lead product manager. Co-founder Suraj worked as a software engineer for Yahoo before he, too, found his way to Zynga. Siddharth and Suraj got hired mere months apart and were coworkers at Zynga for over 3 years.
In 2013, Preeti also joined the Zynga team in the product management department. About a year and a half later, the three friends realized just how massive the gaming market was and decided to make mobile games on their own.
At this point, Siddharth’s brother, Siddhanth, was working as a Walmart Labs software engineer; however, he decided to quit his job and join the exciting new venture. All four young and ambitious entrepreneurs founded PlaySimple Games in December 2014 and never looked back.
PlaySimple at a Glance
PlaySimple is based in the southern city of Bengaluru, a place known as one of the hottest spots for startups and investors in India. The company's main focus has always been providing mobile games in specific categories – word, puzzle, and trivia – that would be available for players worldwide.
Most PlaySimple users and customers are from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Fittingly, the company has developed more than a dozen English-language games; the most popular titles include WordTrek, WordJamand, and WordTrip.
All PlaySimple apps work on a free-to-play model, so their primary sources of revenue are in-app advertisements and in-app purchases. For the most part, the company's operated smoothly since the start – early apps did well, and some even went moderately viral.
This productive journey wasn't going to stop anytime soon, and during 2020, the pandemic further encouraged the work of gaming startups. In 2021, the company created more effective advertising technology and began working on another genre – card games.
Nowadays, the gaming industry is even more valuable than the music and movie industries combined. PlaySimlple has become one of the fastest-growing mobile gaming startups, and the success is largely due to the executive team's considerable gaming industry experience.
The four founders combined their engineering and product design expertise, people skills, finance, and sales to form a solid foundation for a company and design products that appeal to all age groups. All this helped PlaySimple break out and set it up for substantial future success.
PlaySimple’s Fundraising Efforts
Elevation Capital and Chiratae Ventures were early investors in the company and helped it get off the ground. Elevation Capital owned 19.7%, while Chiratae Ventures had a 14.4% stake. This left the PlaySimple co-founders with a combined 56.7% stake in their company.
In 2016, PlaySimple raised $4 million from SAIF Partners and IDG Venture during a Series A funding round. This monetary backing was used to expand the analytical team, help production, and support new game releases.
The company grew its revenue by 144% in the 2020 calendar year, and it’s reached 75 million installs up to date and more than 2 million daily users.
In 2021, the Swedish gaming giant Modern Times Group (MTG) acquired a 100% stake from the company for $360 million in cash and stock deal. The acquisition gave MTG full ownership of PlaySimple and was among the largest cash exits for an Indian startup.
So what does this mean for the PlaySimple team? Well, all of the investors will exit the company while the founders get equity in MTG. Overall, everyone’s a winner.
The co-founders stated that they are happy to expand on the European market and glad they get the chance to interact with and learn from their new colleagues. The acquisition will also strengthen the company’s portfolio by including various genres such as tower defense games, idle games, and city-building and strategy games.
What’s Next for PlaySimple?
In the past, the company has shown rapid growth and has become very profitable in a relatively short period. PlaySimple founders and leaders, however, dream even bigger and aim for new heights.
The company already has more than 200 full-time employees, yet this number is sure to rise for a fast-growing venture like PlaySimple. Future plans include revenue growth, investing in employees, and finding the best-suited talents to fill key positions.
The mobile gaming market is worth $214 million, and 500 new games are released on a single platform each day. Nevertheless, even in a stressful work climate, PlaySimple is successful and strong enough to face the competition head-on.
Thanks to disciplined and diligent work from all the founders and employees, PlaySimple is expected to maintain its spot at the top. With a worldwide network of chart-topping games and powerful tech & analytics infrastructure, the company won’t have problems growing in the future. Moving forward, it may even occupy a more pivotal role in the market.
As technology advances, so does gaming, and it’s an inspiration to watch pioneering creative studios make products that people can enjoy and bond over.