Desmond Lee’s AppXplore aiming for 10mil downloads: Page 2 of 2

‘It just clicked with Fatfish’
Desmond Lee’s AppXplore aiming for 10mil downloads: Page 2 of 2His search for a strategic investor also opened Lee’s eyes to the fact that there are not many funding options available for small game studios, even one with a track record like AppXplore which had revenue-generating games.
“We were still too small in size and revenue for the investors, whose first question was ‘How much are you making?’ ” Lee (pic) recalls. That happened in Singapore at a gaming conference earlier this year.
Back in Kuala Lumpur, he attended an event held at the Malaysian Global Centre for Innovation and Creativity (MaGIC), where a venture capitalist (VC) from Singapore told him that most VCs were interested in apps and not games, which were considered high risk as gamers had so many choices and were very fickle.
Yet attending this event proved pivotal to AppXplore, for by announcing that he was looking for funding, Lee was brought to the attention of MaGIC chief executive officer Cheryl Yeoh, who asked him to attend another event a week later where a few more investors from Singapore were to be present.
And that was where Lee met some the people from Fatfish.
The synergy was evident to both sides. “As it turns out, they were looking to make an investment in a gaming studio and in fact already had one investment in Singapore, which they then moved to Jakarta,” Lee says.
While Fatfish was still new to gaming, Lee liked the fact it was very familiar with the Internet space and had connections to games publishers.
Meanwhile, Fatfish looked at AppXplore and saw a talented and passion-driven team that had already achieved a name in the market despite being constrained by funding.
In fact, AppXplore already had its games featured by Apple and Google, no mean feat for a six-person studio.
“And actually, Apple contacted us to say that for future games we release, we can deal with them directly,” says Lee.
That was a breakthrough as the teams at Apple and Google which decide on which games they will feature, are never short of games to pick from.
Desmond Lee’s AppXplore aiming for 10mil downloads: Page 2 of 2Shortly after that first meeting, Lee then met Fatfish chief executive officer Lau Kin Wai (pic), and the deal was agreed. “Lau doesn’t waste time and is very effective,” observes Lee.
Having persevered and built five games while boot-strapping, two of which crossed a million users, he is looking forward to building better games now.
“With the cushion of the funding, we will probably take between 12 and 15 months to build our next game, versus the eight months we took when constrained by funding,” he shares.
The longer lead time not only allows them to build better games, but to also work out a strategy to monetise the games, which will be based on a freemium model.
This is a much more challenging model as while a game may attract a lot of users, the developers have to figure out ways to hook users to pay for greater functionality and virtual goods.
But for Lee, figuring out this monetisation challenge will be a lot more fun than worrying about making next month’s payroll.
DNA article brought to you in partnership with MaGIC – Building Great Entrepreneurs
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