Singapore: Monk’s Hill leads $5m Series B investment in mobile game developer Playlab

Visual of Playlab website. October 2015.

Singapore-based Monk’s Hill Ventures has led a US$5-million Series B investment into Bangkok-based, Hong Kong-registered mobile game development studio Playlab.

The firm was founded by Thomas Andreasen and Jakob Lykkegaard Pedersen in 2012 as Pocket Playlab before it got rebranded as Playlab.

This deal marks Monk’s Hill Ventures largest investment from its $80-million fund.

This is also the first external investment for Playlab, which has relied on self-funding and sales revenue.

Playlab’s has satellite offices in Manila and Singapore. Their Manila office emerged as a result of their acquiring Philippines-based Anino Games in 2014, leading to a significant strengthening of their technical team.

With mobile gaming predicted to surpass $7 billion by 2019, based on a Frost & Sullivan report, Playlab intends to expand its regional footprint. Accordingly, capital from this Series B round is being invested in fuelling regional business expansion.

Over the last year, the firm has expanded its team from 20 to 100 people. Eventually, they intend to position themselves as the premium player in the mobile game development in the region. Frost & Sullivan reported that Southeast Asian gaming revenues reached $1 billion in 2014, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48 per cent for the 2015 to 2019 period.

The gaming base is growing thanks to rapid increase in new broadband users and smartphone proliferation, particularly on the Android platform, as well as social media use.

Also Read: Infinity Levels secures $500K from InVent

Frost & Sullivan reports that smartphone and tablet usage are likely to become mainstream in the region by 2019. Currently, more than 50 per cent of the Thai population utilise a smartphone, making Playlab’s home market a strong base.

Pedersen, who serves as the CEO of Playlab, said in a statement to startup community platform Tech in Asia: “We are looking into several deals. Everything from IP and new studios to market grab. [The] first step is to find the smartest people in each country and take it from there.”

No public disclosure regarding active players or revenue was forthcoming from Playlab.

But, according to Similarweb, Juice Cubes has recorded between 10 million to 50 million downloads on Google Play platform. Meanwhile, in May 2014, Tech in Asia reported that Juice Cubes had over 20 million downloads with 1.5 million to two million active users per day. Meanwhile, a Mobbo quote reports in excess of 10 million reports, with Singapore and Indonesia as its largest markets in Southeast Asia.

According to Pedersen, the Monk’s Hill investment will require the company to be more calibrated and larger scale, in terms of its product and business strategies. Commenting on the investment to TechCrunch, Pedersen stated: “It will take a few years for Southeast Asia [to truly develop as a games market], and most publishers will still develop for Western markets, but with this investment money, we can own it before everyone finds it fully attractive.”

Also Read: Cisco venture arm invests $10m in Singapore VC firm Monk’s Hill

Philippine online realty marketplace ZipMatch raises $2.5m from Monk’s Hill Ventures & 500 Startups

Compare88 raises undisclosed Series A from Monk’s Hill

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.