Applifier closes $4M second round for mobile games discovery
Applifier, the Robin Hood of Facebook games cross promotion, has closed a $4 million second round of funding led by Lifeline Ventures.
The influx of funds will be put toward accelerating Applifier’s growth on iOS, where the company currently hosts a video-based discoverability service called Everyplay. Its Facebook video ad service, Impact, will migrate to mobile next year. To that end, Applifier is staffing up both its engineering-focused Finnish headquarters and a much smaller developer relations-oriented San Francisco office. Applifier currently has about 25 employees total.
Everyplay continues Applifier’s mission of leveraging games’ appeal to generate organic growth and retention. The SDK, when implemented into a developer’s game, allows players to capture video of their in-game play experience and post said video to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Everyplay’s site (picture, right — click to enlarge). Since we first saw the service, the site part of the experience has evolved into more of a gamers social network, with avatar creation, status updates and a Follower system similar to Twitter’s. Players can link their Facebook accounts to Everyplay, but that is used more as a means of finding friends instead of a substitution for a virtual identity.
Speaking to Inside Social Games this week, Applifier CEO Jussi Laakkonen explains that gamers naturally prefer anonymity to the use of real identities in games. But at the same time, he admits that the social nature of sharing games — showing them off, beating set high scores, competitive multiplayer, etc. — requires some form of connection.
“We want to make a safe and fun environment,” he says. “So we’re not launching the face-cam part of Everyplay until Q1 next year when we have moderation in place. We don’t want this to be Chatroulette.”
Everyplay is currently live in two iOS games, Fatcat Rush and Stair Dismount, and the SDK is now widely available to developers. A few additional features are planned for Q1 in addition to the face cam capture function — such as a picture-in-picture video display where game developers can choose to show community videos or trailers from a game title screen as an engagement tool. Like Applifier’s previous service on Facebook, Everyplay monetizes through native ads (e.g. sponsored or promoted videos that function on a traditional CPI model) and could potentially branch into other forms of display ads.
Laakkonen — along with many others in the social/mobile space — believes that the next big frontier for mobile games will be tablets, so the sooner Applifier can establish itself on mobile, the better off it will be. This is not unlike the situation the company faced in 2008 when it first contemplated the rapid growth on the Facebook platform.
“We’re hoping for explosive growth on mobile, because [there are] similar market conditions to what we faced on Facebook,” Laakkonen tells ISG. “We don’t know where things will go, but for now, it’s about discoverability.”
Applifier’s second round saw participation from existing investors MHS Capital and PROFounders and from new investor Webb Investment Network. Angel investors include Steven Lurie, Anthony Soohoo, Philip Reisberger and David Wright and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The $4 million brings Applifier up to $6 million in total funding following a $2 million round closed in February 2011.