Stylista’s maker Sandbox Global: it’s time for more funds and more games
Saiyai Sakawee | On September 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Back in May 2012, Bangkok-based gaming company Sandbox Global was in the process of launching an English language version of its Facebook fashion game Stylista for markets in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Over a year has gone by, and Sandbox Global has done exactly that – both localizing the game and expanding it to the other markets. Now the company is ready for the next big step: getting more funding and launching a new game.
Sandbox Global by the numbers
Stylista has over 5.2 million registered users and one million active users per month. The company believes it is the biggest social game in Southeast Asia with at least 1.3 million users. The game is also being played in over 20 other countries outside of Asia such as in Brazil, US, and Turkey.
Ferdinand Gutierrez, founder and CEO of Sandbox Global told Tech in Asia:
In terms of the number of users outside Asia, we see the biggest growth in Brazil. But when we look at Southeast Asia, the big markets are Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Although the game is being played in many countries, all of our operations are here in Thailand. However, we also have a registered company in Hong Kong.
Sandbox Global was funded by two VCs – Thailand’s Sparx Venture and Singapore’s IDM Venture Capital. To date the company has raised a total of four rounds of funding – twice in 2011, once in 2012, and once earlier this year. The total funding raised amounted to about $3 million.
According to Sandbox Global, it has hit every KPI that VCs have given to the company so far. But with a big dream, the company is looking for another round of funding. This time, Sandbox Global is looking for at least $1.5 million. Ferdinand already has plans on how to spend this money to improve the company:
There will be new hires. We’re looking to add CTO, developers, and product manager to the team. For the tech infrastructure, the company is also looking at a proprietary data-center. More importantly, Sandbox global aims to focus more on mobile development. We want to produce at least three to four projects annually. Last, there will be various initiatives to maximise monetisation and retention added to Stylista.
“We don’t want to be like Zynga that focuses on Facebook, but we want to be everywhere.”, said Ferdinand.
One of Sandbox Global’s grand plans is to have a standalone Stylista game outside of social networks. It aims to launch a Stylista mobile app for iOS by March 2014. With the that clear goal in mind, the company is working to monetize and stabilize the platform by partnering with local brands to do affiliated marketing. In Thailand, it has worked with Zalora, Major Cineplex, and others. In addition, it also has a partnership with the United Nations to raise money for the world food program by playing Stylista and participating in the KC’s closet activities. According to the founder, Stylista might be the only game in Southeast Asia that has teamed up with with the UN.
More games on the way
Part of Sandbox Global’s future plan is to launch a few mobile games a year. Hexx , a puzzle strategy game, will be the first to enter the market. Tech in Asia got to test drive Hexx a little, and it’s very design-centric: it’s basically a ‘connect three’ game with four different modes of playing. Hexx aims to monetize by allowing users to buy virtual currency for more time or other perks. Hexx will launch on iOS, Android and Facebook.
Sandbox Global believes in cross platformization, as Facebook can keep people on the game, while mobile allows players to engage on-the-go when they have time to spare. We should see Hexx in the market by next month.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff and Josh Horwitz)