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Gaming Monetization Startup Sogamo Raises US$500,000 from IncuVest

Sogamo logoSocial game developers would probably understand the pain, blood, and sweat when it comes to new game development. And there are also other things to be concerned about after you develop new titles: user retention, behavioural patterns, and – most importantly – how to effectively monetize them.

So Sogamo aims to address this issue, offering analytics to enable social game developers to better understand their users and how to effectively earn money from them. With this Singapore-based real-time analytics and monetization platform-as-a-service (PaaS), game developers can place more emphasis on the design as well as game creativity instead of fretting over the analytics.

What sets Sogamo apart from conventional analytics tools is that it analyzes the gamers’ personality and preferences using an intelligent automated recommendation engine. With this data, game developers can customize their monetization strategies accordingly. For instance, if the user comes from a higher purchasing-power background, it will recommend goods according to the users’ willingness and ability to pay. In essence, it can increase user retention rate, help the studio acquire more users, and enhance gameplay for the end-users.

Sogamo monetizes through a pay-per-usage model, specifically targeting Facebook game developers and publishers at the moment. It will be based on the number of users that are being tracked in the game, how Sogamo is being utilized, and the percentage commission based on the improvements made to the game.

Geraldine Tay, marketing associate at Sogamo, tells us there are other potential revenue sources that the startup is also exploring, including:

  • Directly licensing of the technology to social networks to offer Sogamo as part of their services
  • Transactional revenue sharing with partnering social networks to offer Sogamo as part of their services
  • Analytics consultancy services charged based on hours
  • Training services charged based on programme package

The company is currently working with 20 developers and publishers, hailing from countries such as South Korea, the US, Turkey, and Hong Kong. The service is free at present, as it aims to attract more developers on board with them.

Sogamo and its creators, ZelRealm, recently revealed that it successfully raised US$500,000 in seed funding in September 2012 from Incuvest and the National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Technology Incubation Scheme (TIS). On how the new money will be used, Geraldine explains:

The investment would aid ZelRealm to accelerate its pace in scaling Sogamo internationally as well as creating a wider outreach for companies to use Sogamo. We are hoping to achieve a status of tracking five million monthly active users (MAUs) by the end of 2013. Right now, we are working with several game developers and publishers in Southeast Asia, except for China.

The startup reminds me of the Innovation Works-backed startup XingCloud, where I used to work when I was in Beijing. The teams’ backgrounds are pretty similar, in that they are made up of developers with experience in developing and designing games, which means they both understand the pain points of game developers, and have developed a platform catered for game developers. It is also interesting to note that the name, Sogamo, comes from Social Games Monetization. If you are a game developer and keen to give Sogamo a try, you can visit its website here.


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