The gaming category is experiencing a high rate of consolidation, creating new pressure on independent game studios to monetize and market their games extremely efficiently. As big budgets pour money into paid installs on Facebook and other proven user acquisition (UA) channels, the auction dynamic of paid UA can be painful if you’re not able to find clever ways to level the playing field.
For Fanatee Co-founder Cesar Mufarej and his team, that meant a relentless focus on optimizing end-user lifetime value (LTV)s and marketing ROI through a creative blend of monetization pathways including advertising, in-app purchases, and subscriptions.
The Fanatee team was investing heavily in new products — and at the same time knew they could scale CodyCross, a promising new title that showed major upside following a soft launch. To do so, Fanatee would need a larger marketing budget. Without immediate access to capital, the team evaluated external funding options. As a small team at a rapidly growing company, their most scarce resource was time. Fundraising could take months — and would compromise their focus. After ruling out raising dilutive equity, they considered traditional loans. But that solution didn’t feel right either.
Cesar and his founders had built a strong business with revenue traction from their existing portfolio of games. How could they leverage that performance to optimize their chance for success?
Time is our most precious commodity and having access to capital if needed without requiring a lot of time is very valuable to us.
Fortunately, Cesar bumped into the Braavo team at Game Developers Conference and quickly realized Braavo would be an ideal financing partner for Fanatee. In minutes, he was able to get set up on the Braavo platform and unlock financing based on the revenue his games were earning.
With Braavo Accelerate, Fanatee could access earnings from the app stores and ad networks that would otherwise be locked up for months. This enabled the team to not only rapidly re-invest in profitable UA channels but also optimize their games to improve user engagement and retention.
As their revenue grew each week, so did their budget — which was exactly what they needed to reach the next level of scale. Within five months, Fanatee’s revenue had doubled. Cesar then began to explore new ways to leverage the Braavo platform for additional growth. As September approached, Fanatee saw an opportunity to capture seasonal demand — a use case that fit perfectly with Braavo’s user acquisition funding product, Extend.
Cesar got qualified immediately for $150,000 to put towards their successful marketing campaigns, followed by an additional $100,000 to continue driving profitable growth as they executed on their strategy.
Each type of funding has its place. Equity investment is a great option for when you want to create a new title or expand your team. But when you have predictable revenue and confidence you’ll get the money from an investment back, other instruments make more sense.
In less than a year, Fanatee grew revenue over 5x without taking dilution or being saddled by liquidity-eating debt.
Since partnering with Braavo, the team has harnessed new growth to sharpen its competitive edge. With Braavo’s support towards working capital and UA budget, Fanatee has been able to reallocate operating capital towards making important hires, expanding their capabilities in production and art design and building out the content side of their business — investments Cesar believes will pay off big in the near future.