- What is it that you do on a daily basis – No two days are the same, but I’m sure you know that as well. Coffee and reading general start the day. Everything from business and consumer game news to business articles. Then I do a pass through email. Answering anything urgent and setting the others off to the side for later in the day. From there I may be consulting with clients, talking to prospective new clients, or building relationships with new companies. My team takes care of most of the pitching of products while I focus on new clients and building new relationships.
- Can you share some fun experiences – I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, I’ve forgotten more fun times than I remember at this point. These days just producing our podcast is more fun than I’ve had in a decade. I get to share what I know and what the people I’ve worked with for 15-20 years know and we don’t have to put on a suit and travel to a conference to do it!
- How are you looking at the game industry at the moment (growth, type of games, anything goes, your opinion) – Same shit, different day? 😉 There are always changes in the industry but there’s an awful lot that doesn’t change and people don’t think about it. The industry is in a good place. There’s a lot of great games coming from smaller teams and there is plenty of space for them if the developers approach it the correct way. VR is starting to take a good hold and it’s getting to the point that it’s affordable. Subscripitions are opening the “long tail” of sales back up for teams that manage it appropriately. Streaming has the potential to get any game out there in front of millions, and streamers make awesome playtesters as well. Most importantly, developers have options! Lots of options!
- Do you have some advice for game studios – When you don’t enjoy it anymore, stop. None of us got into this industry because it was the highest paying job we were looking at. We do this because we love games. We love making games. We love playing games, and we love watching other people play our games. If it isn’t fun anymore, step back and re-evaluate.
- What are the most leading game developers in Israel?
Israel’s success is mostly around mobile games. The biggest publishers are
Playtika , Slotomania and owning other publishers like wooga
Plarium – midcore games
Ilyon, casual – just bought by Miniclip
CrazyLabs (was TabTale) – hypercausal
Moonactive – casual
There are over 50 others with smallers games.
- Any titles coming from Israel that we should know?
Raid from Plarium and Coinmaster from Moonactive are in the news these days.
- How is the investment climate for gaming over there?
Due to recent exits in the last few years, you’d see more angels coming in the market. A few new VCs emerged to cater the market like Remagine and Kaedan . The top investor is Gigi Levy from NfX.
- Is the indie scene vibrant, meaning lots of new studios?
Yes. Israel is “startup nation” and that echoes into the game market. There are also new schools with game development program like Shenkar and Tiltan. Most new studios focus on mobile but some go to PC and Nintendo switch.
- Anything special that we should know about that is happening in Israel concerning gaming?
Israel game market is new. It is data oriented. It is effected by the broader “hi-tech” market, both in terms of processes, funding and goals. Israel is also expensive to live in, so a lot of the scale of development is done in central Europe. Tradeiotionaly Israel is more tech oriented then content oriented and you can find here market leaders such as Ironsource, Appsflyer, Singular, Fyber keeping their HQ / top management here.
You have to get to Israel and see all these amazing publishers, indies and marketing talent at our GameIS yearly conference, May 6th 2020. more info at GameISconf.com
Name Guy Ben-dov
CEO of Ouzo Games and Chairman of GameIS
Website link/linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/guybendov/
When did you start Anzu
Anzu started its operations in 2017 when I teamed up with Ben Fenster (who is now the CPO) and Michael Badichi (our CTO) to initiate a new-age ad platform for both brands and game developers. All three of us come from a long history of working in the AdTech and gaming space, which made us aware of the industry pains. At some point, we realized gaming had become an attractive space for digital advertisers. Yet, brands stayed away from fully exploring this medium because of intrusive ad nature and the lack of scalable tech solutions. Game developers, too, were reluctant to open their games to ads because of the fear of disrupting user experience. We knew, then, that we had to change this.
With Anzu, we brought a cutting-edge solution to the market to bridge this gap and change in-game advertising with the power of real-time data and battle-tested AdTech tools. We have created a cross-platform solution to bring real-world ads that are integrated directly into the gameplay, offering new revenue streams for game developers without harming the gamers, while allowing brands to tap into the previously undiscovered audiences.
Tell us more about the company, people, culture etc
Anzu is a fast-growing startup and we are all very passionate about what we do! On the tech side, we are always innovating to explore how we can best utilize cutting-edge technologies to better serve our clients. That’s why the products we offer are in many ways unique in the in-game space. Whether it is our full-stack solution, our patent-pending 3D ad tracker, or the battle-tested secure SDK, we are consciously building solutions that support our vision of a new (better!) ecosystem. On the business front, we have forged a number of successful partnerships with well-known game studios and Fortune 500 brands, as well as got many industry leaders to join us as advisors and take our growth forward.
The energy of the team is contagious and everyone is 100% committed to delivering the best product and services we can. In a short time, we have grown as a company, adding brilliant new minds to our team. We opened offices in Israel and Germany, as well as expanded our operations to Europe and North America. Our passion has been recognized, winning us awards such as the SPROCKIT Best Monetization Company 2019, VivaTech Orange Lab 2019, Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards 2020 shortlist and a number of others. Anzu’s growth has got the trust and backup of the industry giants – Bitkraft Esports Ventures, WPP, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures – that led our Round A funding.
What makes Anzu special
We are pioneers in the in-game advertising market, offering technologies and services that were previously unavailable. With our blended advertising solution we provide brands access to top console games that never showed ads before. In a market that consists mainly of static ad formats, we are bringing advanced ad units in IAB-recognized formats and serve them programmatically, making it scalable than before. We are the first in the market to bring ad viewability in-game through our partnership with CHEQ. Just a few weeks ago Anzu announced collaboration with Forensiq, the MRC-accredited ad fraud-detection solution to bring for the first time ad fraud detection in-game.
We also recently announced our participation in the Xbox Tools and Middleware Program, making us the only company currently licensed to provide in-game advertising services for Xbox One development. Ansd Anzu is the only programmatic solution in esports with our exclusive partnership with ELeague.
Can you mention clients
Anzu has solid partnerships with top game developers, leading agencies and brands. We have exclusive partnerships with the game developers like Toplitz Productions and Vivid Games who have integrated our technology in a number of their games across platforms. We’ve just published the results of our pilot campaign in collaboration with CHEQ for a multinational consumer brand that saw a 23% increase in viewability when compared to traditional digital advertising. Quite an impressive number that shows how effective in-game advertising is!
We are also proud of our wide networks of trusted third-party partners. Forensiq, Cheq, ELeague that I’ve already mentioned, and TruOptik – the data management platform for console gaming.
Any financials you can share
We prefer not to disclose this information.
How is the year 2020 looking for you. New games, growth etc
It’s an important year for us, and we are ready to conquer the world 🙂 Anzu has already made some great advancements with what we offer to the industry and we continue to innovate. It’s a pretty exciting time as we are in the 100% growth stage and we are growing in all directions, whether it is hiring brilliant minds, collaborating with leading vendors, or bringing new technologies.
We had a great start of the year – we’ve announced the collaborations with Vivid Games and Forensiq, and shared the great results of our first large-scale campaign with Cheq. Much more is in the pipeline – stay tuned!
Are you going to GDC, If YES or NO, please let me know why. What is your company’s take on health and employees?
Evidently, the employee health and well-being is of the utmost importance for the company. With the recent GDC’s announcementIt the questions is not that relevant, but as it was previously mentioned, we’re moving the meetings to client offices.
Who is Cordel
I am Co-Founder of Carry1st the leading mobile gaming publisher in Africa. Originally from Sierra Leone, my family fled to the US during a civil war in the 90s. Through hard work and good fortune, I ended up at Stanford University and dedicated my life to making a major difference in my home country and the broader African continent.
I spent the first decade of my career in finance, most recently helping to launch the first African private equity fund by a major global player, The Carlyle Group. While working with Carlyle and living in Nigeria, I became fascinated by the emerging tech startup scene and convinced of the immense opportunity in interactive mobile. I’ve since become obsessed with trying to bridge the gap between the best digital content in the world and a massive, fast-growing, and vibrant region that is deeply underserved.
Tell me more about your company and your mission
Carry1st is on a mission to build the dominant mobile publisher in Africa, starting with games. We leverage proprietary technology and local capabilities to scale the key distribution / monetization challenges in our region and amplify content. Our market has over 1.3 billion people who have been underserved when it comes to high-quality localized digital content.
In 2019 we self-published a #1 game across the 3 largest english-speaking markets, demonstrating the market potential and our capabilities. We won the award as the top media and entertainment solution in Africa by Apps Africa, sponsored by Tencent; and were named one of the top 10 startups to watch by VentureBurn. We aim to be the Garena for Africa.
That can we expect in 2020
In 2020, you can expect to see us publish our first co-developed and third-party titles in Africa and announce partnerships with some major players in the game industry. Our value proposition is that we help game companies get 10x user scale and revenue in a region that most have no clue how to approach. We are developing unified local payments technology and forming key distribution partnerships to pair with our digital UA and offline activation capabilities.
What are you going to do with the funding
Our new funding will be used to enhance our platform technology and marketing teams; as well as provide a warchest to deploy for user acquisition to scale the games we publish this year.
How should we look at the africa continent and gaming
Africa is the youngest and fastest growing population in the world, with an average age of 19 years old. In 2025, there will be 2x the number of smartphone connections in Africa than all of North America. And most importantly, Africa consumers love to have fun, socialize, and play games as much as much (or I’d argue more) than any group of people I’ve encountered across 5 continents. It’s not a matter of if gaming will explode on the content, but when.