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Bring It On has raised $4 million in seed funding to make skill-based games including its flagship title Road Trip Bingo.
Acies Investments led the round with participation from Kona Venture Partners, My.Games Venture Capital (MGVC), Overwolf, Lalotte Ventures and angel including Marc Alloul, Gilad Almog, Mike Vorhaus, and Sebastien Borget.
The funding will be used to further develop the company’s flagship game, Road Trip Bingo, which lets players to compete against each other and win real cash prizes. Such games are legal in around 40 states in the U.S. Road Trip Bingo is now available in the iOS app store. Players place a wager and play competitively against each other.
The company released a version of the game within four months, and it started generating revenues in the first year of development, said Leonard Frankel, CEO of Bring It On, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We see so much potential in the skill games market. It’s really in its infancy right now,” Frankel said. “There are already successes in this field of games. But a lot of the games are focusing on a relatively basic experience for the player. And we find a lot of room to innovate and provide deep meaningful entertainment to players.”
He added, “Even when real money’s involved, people still like to be entertained. So I think there’s huge opportunity to further develop the skill games market and specifically create a huge universe inside of Road Trip Bingo.”
Road Trip Bingo introduces multiple sector-first features including a progression metagame, daub tools, and innovative, new standard-setting game types. The game has already attracted a following, with Bring It On’s players racking up 150,000 games to date. Proceeds from the funding will also be used to lay the foundation for the company’s next game.
Bring It On’s founders are Leonard Frankel, Alex Adonin and Matan Liberman. They have decades of experience with mobile games, having previously held senior positions at Plarium, Jelly Button, Diwip and Globo, where they helped scale games to millions of players.
They started the company in 2022, when many mobile game companies were having a hard time with Apple’s push for privacy over targeted marketing.
“Marketing and distribution provides challenges at times. But I think one of the considerations we’ve seen around the last couple of years is that it’s harder to launch” hypercasual or casual games. Skill games, by contrast, attract people who are willing to spend money.
Still, the company has grown carefully.
“With my third startup, I knew how important relationships are,” said Frankel. “We took our time making sure it’s a match. And everyone is very focused on productivity from the get-go. We just came out of COVID and we opted to find the most productive people in the world and have them join the team and give everyone an equal opportunity to contribute.”
The team is fully remote and the company doesn’t expect to have an office soon. Frankel also said everyone at the company is a decision maker.
“We constantly forego our authority as founders, the company has no hierarchy,” Frankel said. “We scout for people who have a lot of experience, people that are very opinionated. And then we try to remove all obstacles in their path for production. I think this new world is presenting us with unique opportunities to stay fast and nimble.”
The company, based in Israel, has attracted a team of 10 people and it has a a culture centered on flat hierarchy and remote coordination. The team leverages AI in aspects of its production, such as art, copywriting, marketing assets, and economy balancing, Frankel said.
“It amplifies their power,” he said.
I met Frankel in Israel when he was a vice president at Plarium, which was acquired by Aristocrat for $500 million. Frankel is a third-time entrepreneur with more than 16 years in the game industry.
“We are very fortunate to have such great investors by our side, who equally see the untapped opportunity in the skill games market,” said Frankel. “Our investors share our vision for a company where the best people in the world work together to create a unique experience and redefine how entertainment is being delivered in skill games.”
Adonin, CTO, brings experience from Jelly Button (acquired by Playtika) where he served as an R&D manager, and Diwip (acquired by Tangelo Games). He has led the development of top games and managed the production of titles reaching tens of millions of players.
Liberman, chief creative officer, has a background in art direction, having worked with Jelly Button and the virtual world Globo. He has led various art and design projects, contributing to the creation of various entertainment products and numerous games.
Raising the money was challenging, given the state of the world economy. But the team had good connections and found good investors, Frankel said. Most of them have invested in and sold game companies before. Rivals include Papaya and Avia Games.
Edward King, cofounder and partner at Acies Investments, said in a statement, “We were immediately attracted to the founders’ creative vision, which has already been realized in Road Trip Bingo’s revolutionary flair within a highly popular and successful game category. This ingenuity gives us the confidence the team will not only rapidly scale Road Trip Bingo, but also then grow Bring it On’s game portfolio thereafter.”
Bring It On’s new funding will enable the company to push further into the skill games market, which is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. The company’s innovative approach to game development, combined with its experienced team, positions it well for success in this space. Frankel said the funding with help to grow the team.
“We’re very picky about the people we bring on board. And everyone on the team is involved in the hiring process,” he said.
As for the market, Frankel said, “We’ll see more and more expansions to this definition” of skill games as more types of games emerge.
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