🎮 Backing Homa Again

Overlooked #85

Hi, it’s Alexandre from Eurazeo (ex. Idinvest). I’m investing in seed & series A consumer and consumer enablers startups all over Europe. Overlooked is a weekly newsletter about venture capital and underrated consumer trends. Today, I’m delighted to share that our portfolio company Homa has raised a new funding round with Northzone and Singular to build the next European gaming giant.

Homa is raising a $50m series A led by Northzone with the participation of Singular, Spotify’s founder Daniel Ekas well as with FuboTV and King’s founders. As existing investor, we’re obviously taking part in this round. Same for Headline which was also on the cap. table.

Homa is reinventing mobile gaming leveraging a proprietary end-to-end-tech platform to help game developers in their journey from ideation, development and scaling to monetization.

The funding will be used to expand the team, strengthen Homa’s tech platform, to sign new IPs, to complete acquisitions, and to expand in new mobile game genres. If you want to take part in this adventure, you should check Homa’s career page here.

In this post, I’ll come back on Homa’s tech platform which is a key differentiator in the mobile gaming market and on Homa’s execution velocity.

Homa’s tech platform

Historically, gaming has been an industry relying on blockbusters. AAA studios takes years to develop a game and invest millions in marketing dollars to promote it. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it’s a disaster (cc. Cyberpunk). If you are Activision Blizzard or Electronic Arts, you can afford it. If you are an independent gaming studio or a mobile game developer, you can’t.

Mobile hyper-casual games have changed this paradigm.

  • On the development side, game developers can now develop and test a game prototype in a couple of days. You can quickly gather market feedbacks, iterate on your prototype or move to the next idea if initial traction signals are not strong enough.

  • On the marketing side, you don’t have to spend millions upfront to promote your game but you can rely on performance marketing campaigns to scale your game while maintaining a sound LTV to CAC ratio.

On mobile, you can remain independent while been extremely successful.

Nonetheless, as a indie, to bring a successful game to the market you need to master very diverse set of skills: creativity to find a gaming concept, development skills as well as growth and monetization capabilities. Homa has built a platform preserving the independency of game developers while providing them with the tools to generate, scale and monetize ideas. As a result, a game developer can spend 100% of its time on the one skill that he loves and masters: developing the best game.

Homa’s platform is built on top of Unity’s game engine and is based on 3 key pillars:

  • Market intelligence to generate ideas: Homa is pushing gaming concepts to be tested by mobile developers based on social media, market trends and social trends.

  • A/B testing to improve prototypes: once you have a prototype, Homa will test both its engagement and monetization potential. Homa will test several ad creatives but also several in game parameters.

  • A growth and monetization engine to scale games: an advertising platform to acquire and monetize new users as well as an In-App-Purchase (IAP) platform when you want to go deeper in monetization.

I love this platform because it empowers independent game developers by giving them the tools to fight back giant gaming studios. Moreover, it transforms Homa into a machine to generate game hits without relying on long development cycles and upfront marketing.

Executing at full speed

Homa’s team is executing at full speed. All the efforts invested in recruiting the best team and on building the best mobile gaming tech platform are starting to compound.

When we partnered with Homa, the company had 30 employees in France. Fast forward today, Homa has 100+ outstanding employees in 4 countries. Anytime, we chat with Daniel (Homa’s CEO and founder), we are super impressed by the quality of the people that he is bringing on board recruiting experienced individuals from great companies like Ubisoft, Scopely, AppLovin, Voodoo, BCG, Google, etc.

Homa has published 40 games since inception in 2018 and the pace is accelerating with 20 more games to be published before the end of the year. Homa’s games have been downloaded more than 500m times and all the top performing games have been developed by less than 8 days.

The company has also brought key innovations in the mobile gaming market. It has created a new hypercasual sub-genre called Arcade Idle. In these games, you can collect ressources and use them to progress in the game with minimal interactions (e.g. the action of harvesting is done automatically and you just have to move the character). You have a simple gameplay mechanic but at the same time you understand quickly that the game has the depth to be played for hours. As a result, you have a game with an attractive usage and monetization profile: easy to start as most hypercasual games but much more potential in total time spent in the game and the possibility to monetize not only with advertising but also with IAP. Homa has already released a couple of Arcade Idle games and is about to publish 7 more in the coming months.

Moreover, Homa is started to explore IP partnerships. It has signed a deal with Hasbro to bring the NERF franchise on mobile games. It has already published a 1st successful game called NERF Pranks which has been downloaded more than 50m times.

We’re honoured to be part of Homa’s journey. The company has set the right foundations with a great team, a strong execution velocity and a differentiated tech platform. Now, it’s time to build the next European gaming giant!

Thanks to Julia for the feedback! 🦒 Thanks for reading! See you next week for another issue! 👋