🎮 Backing Homa Games

Overlooked #55

Hi, it’s Alexandre from Idinvest. Overlooked is a weekly newsletter about underrated trends in the European tech industry. Today, I’m sharing our new investment into Homa Games, a company founded in 2018 and which is a mobile apps developer and publisher.

We are strong believers that Europe has a strong edge compared to Asia and North America in certain tech sectors and gaming is obviously one of them. Supercell, King, Ubisoft, Peak, Rovio, Small Giants are all historical proofs that we are able to build worldwide giants in this space. Today, we are backing Daniel and Homa with the ambition to add another name on that list.

Homa is a mobile apps developer and publisher. The company was founded in 2018 in Paris. It started by building a content production and publishing engine and by applying it to the hypercasual segment. In the past two years, Homa published 30 games that generated more than 250m downloads with hits including Sky Roller (150m downloads), Nerf Epic Pranks (50m downloads), Pancake Art (22m downloads) etc.

Homa is raising a $15m round co-led by Idinvest and e.ventures with the participation of prominent business angels (Jean-Marie Messier, Vladimir Lasocki, John Cheng and Alexis Bonillo). The funding will be used to grow the team, to double down on internal technologies to expand beyond the hyper-casual segment.

We are backing Homa for two core reasons: (i) building the best international team based in Europe in the gaming space with a strong emphasis on culture, (ii) setting-up a machine to produce and publish content on mobile.

1/ Building the Best International Team based in Europe in the Gaming space with a Strong Emphasis on Culture

From day 1, we have been impressed by Daniel's ability to recruit top-notch talents and focus on building an outstanding culture. In the past 12 months, Homa quadrupled its team size, opened offices in Lisbon, Toulouse and Skopje and acqui-hired a Toulouse based gaming studio called IRL Team. Daniel has surrounded himself with a super strong exec team with hires like Julien Bourhis as VP Ops (ex. project leader at BCG), Naveen Mewani as strategic growth manager (ex. AppLovin/Lion Studio) and Romain Levrini as CFO (ex. Doctrine). 

Homa is still expanding and is recruiting key other profiles including a Head of Apps to lead the diversification beyond the hypercasual segment and a Lead Publishing to manage the publishing arm of the business. If you are interested in one of these jobs, drop me an email at ade@idinvest.

In the gaming space, we are convinced that you cannot succeed without an outstanding team, a strong internal culture and well-defined processes. You are in a blockbuster-driven industry. Many games will fail and it does not matter. The goal is to keep pushing and learning after each iteration until you produce the next hit. If you don't have the right team, culture and processes, you will never have the resilience and the learning dynamic to reach the success you expect.

In Europe, Supercell is an amazing example in that regard. Its CEO, Ilkka Paananen, describes himself as the "least powerful CEO in the world". He has built a decentralized organization with small and independent teams called Cells. Independent teams are responsible for the games they produce. They can move forward with one game even if all the other teams don't believe they are working on a good game. This super high degree of trust given to individual teams is the cornerstone of Supercell's culture. And it pays off. Boom Beach, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars were all games that were non consensual.

Homa has been working hard to implement this type of culture over the past two years with a strong recruitment engine, the implementation of tools and processes to empower individuals as well as the passion to build the best place to build a career in the gaming world.

2/ Setting-up a Machine to Produce and Publish Content on Mobile

Homa is building a content production and publishing engine around three key pieces:

  • Homa Lab: a platform to analyse the potential of an app through a series of tests at different stages of the content production process,

  • Homa Belly: a unique SDK for app developers to remove the friction of connecting multiple SDKs to better manage their games,

  • Homa Data: a product to manage and optimise monetisation from both advertising and in-app purchases.

In the past 2 years Homa has been employing its engine on the hypercausal segment, as it both has shorter time to market and is at the forefront in terms of mobile game design and monetization innovation.

As I wrote in the past in my Voodoo's deep dive, hypercasual has brought the lean startup methodology to the gaming world. Instead of taking months if not years to develop and publish a game, hypercasual games are built in days and are directly confronted to the market. If the usage and monetization metrics are promising, developers will iterate on the game. If not, they will move to the next idea. We believe that this approach is a game changer that is expanding in the whole gaming industry.

If Homa manages to master the hypercasual segment with its engine, it will have no issue to reuse it for any type of mobile content starting with less casual games and IP-based games.

Welcome to the Idinvest family! 💙

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