500 Startups-backed Tamatem raises $2.5M to localise video games for Arabic-speaking market


Tamatem, a startup backed by 500 Startups that creates localised variations of standard video games in order that they resonate higher with customers in Arabic talking nations, has picked up $2.5 million in Sequence A funding. The spherical is led by Wamda Capital, with participation from Discovery Nusantara Capital, Raed Ventures, Imaginative and prescient Enterprise Capital, and Seed Fairness Enterprise Companions.

It will likely be utilized by Tamatem to allow it to shut offers with extra worldwide sport builders so as to seize an even bigger market share in MENA. As well as, the brand new capital will see the corporate improve headcount because it bids to draw extra high quality expertise within the area.

That, founder and CEO Hussam Hammo tells me, is a good distance from the startup’s early days when in 2013 native traders shunned Tamatem, citing its founder’s earlier “failure” as co-founder of browser-based gaming studio ‘Wizards Productions’. After some preliminary success and a seed spherical, Wizards dead-pooled 4 years into its existence.

“When the company closed, I kept pushing to establish a mobile games company. The opportunity is huge!” he says. “Arabic is the fourth most spoken language, and almost no content is available on the app stores. I knocked on the doors of every investor I dealt with in the region, but their response was: your previous company failed, you will most probably fail again. I was a single founder and I had no team. I just had a couple of prototypes and an investment deck. I applied to 500 Startups, and they believed in me”.

To place the chance in context, Hammo says MENA’s cellular gaming market is “severely underserved” with lower than 1 p.c of app retailer video games accessible in Arabic. This creates an enormous hole for customers who need to devour culturally related and localised cellular video games. This doesn’t simply imply translating the written or spoken elements of a sport, but in addition different inventive or story parts so title is relatable and can resonate in Arabic talking nations.

For instance, Tamatem localised the racing/drifting sport Shake the Metallic for the MENA market, together with swapping out graphical parts and the soundtrack. The outcomes garnered 5 million downloads.

Explains the startup’s founder: “When users worldwide think about this type of game, they will think about driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis. In the Middle East, users are interested in driving the Toyota Camry or the Hilux. Music was also a big win in our case, instead of using soundtracks, which a lot of the Saudi Arabia audience will consider religiously forbidden, we used a specific type of music that uses body sounds rather than instruments”.


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Désiré LeSage


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