Tamatem, a start-up supported by 500 Startups that creates localized versions of popular games so that they resonate better with users in Arabic-speaking countries, raised $ 2.5 million in funding Series A. The round is led by Wamda Capital, with the participation of Discovery Nusantara Capital, Raed Ventures, Vision Venture Capital and Seed Equity Venture Partners.
It will be used by Tamatem to allow it to enter into agreements with more international gaming developers to win more market share in the MENA region. In addition, the new capital will see the company increase its workforce by attracting more quality talent to the region.
Founder and CEO Hussam Hammo tells me that local investors have moved away from Tamatem in 2013, citing the previous "failure" of its founder as co-founder of the browser gaming studio "Wizards Productions". & # 39 ;. After some initial successes and a round of seeds, Wizards was pooled four years after its existence.
"When the company shut down, I kept pushing to create a mobile gaming company.The opportunity is huge!", He said. "Arabic is the fourth most spoken language, and almost no content is available in the app stores. I knocked on the door of every investor I dealt with. in the region, but their answer was: your previous business failed, you will probably fail again .. I was a single founder and I did not have a team. having some prototypes and an investment deck. I applied to 500 Startups, and they believed in me. "
To contextualize the opportunity, Hammo says that the MENA mobile gaming market is "severely underserved" with less than 1% of the application games available in Arabic. This creates a huge gap for users who want to consume culturally relevant and localized mobile games. This does not only mean translating written or spoken parts of a game, but also other elements of creation or history so that a title can be narrated and resonate in Arabic-speaking countries .
For example, Tamatem located the Shake the Metal racing / drift game for the MENA market, including the exchange of graphics and the soundtrack. The results collected 5 million downloads.
Explains the founder of the startup: "When users around the world are thinking about this type of game, they are going to be thinking of driving Ferrari and Lamborghini, and in the Middle East, users are interested in driving the Toyota Camry or the Hilux.The music was also a great victory in our case, instead of using soundtracks, which many Saudi viewers consider religiously forbidden, we used a specific type of music that uses body sounds rather that instruments ".