Impressively raising $35M+ in Series A capital in November 2014 and boasting 35M+ loyal and engaged mobile players on its network, Scopely has carved out a leading position in a crowded mobile arena. To-date, Scopely has launched 5 consecutive Top 5 Games in the Apple App Store and scaled the team from 4 cofounders to 120 employees over four years. Holding the title of “the HBO of mobile games” by industry observers, Scopely connects the most elite game designers and developers to its audience.
Today, we sit down with Walter Driver, cofounder and CEO of Scopely to learn more.
Tell us about the product or service.
Founded in 2011, Scopely partners and collaborates with elite game developers and global entertainment companies to bring industry leading distribution and monetization technology to free to play games. Scopely recently launched Yahtzee with Buddies for iPhone, Android and Apple Watch securing 1M downloads in 4 days, top featuring across all platforms and inclusion in the Top 100 grossing list on iTunes and climbing.
How is it different?
Scopely is the first entertainment network to focus on interactive experiences on touchscreen devices. Scopely has a very innovative business model in the games space working with a distributed network of the world’s most elite game developers and focusing on building industry leading distribution and monetization technology for free to play games. Nearly all of the leading free to play game companies in the western world develop and publish their own games, Scopely is unique in the fact that it is agnostic about its economic relationship with game developer whether it is a first, second or third party relationship. This approach leads to more innovation and specialization because Scopely can leverage the creativity of independent teams all over the world rather than relying on the expertise of its full-time employees.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The mobile phone is one of the fastest growing and most ubiquitous technologies in existence. Over 2 billion people in the world have a smartphone or tablet, and adults in the US spend nearly 3 hours a day interacting with digital media, up from just 20 minutes only 5 years ago. In total over $25BN will be spent on mobile gaming in 2015, and playing games on phones and tablets is one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment today.
What is the business model?
Scopely partners with these developers and oversees brand and performance marketing, analytics, ad serving and ad sales, business development and strategic partnerships, licensing, localization, quality assurance, community management, customer support, CRM and more while the developers focus on building and refining the game experience. Scopely then publishes the product to its network of over 35 million registered users and shares revenue with the developer.
What inspired the business?
For years, I’ve been carefully studying the evolution of social interactions, starting with social products for the web. The impetus behind Scopely began when I observed all of the macro trends in technology pointing to 2 billion smartphones by 2015 and the average American touching their smartphone 150 times a day. I was determined to capture and delight the audience of the growing free-to-play market by creating products that would entertain players for years.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Eytan Elbaz–he has been an investor in many great companies and has incredible instincts for identifying great teams.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
LA is the city that creates entertainment and experiences for the most of the world, Scopely is proud to continue that tradition for the touchscreens.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
More Series A investors to fund companies to get to scale so they can raise growth capital from other markets.
What’s your favorite after work activity in Los Angeles?
Hanging out with creative people that are making something new. My favorite thing about LA is that it is a city of dreamers where people are trying to live out their dreams whether they are designers, musicians, writers, photographers, actors, or entrepreneurs the vast majority of my friends are forging their own path and I find that very energizing to be around.