Company at the intersection of fintech and gaming set to deliver insights and access to capital as mobile games and apps market heats up
Sanlo, a new company that empowers gaming and app companies with financial products to help them run healthy, sustainable businesses, today announced $3.5 million in funding. The oversubscribed round was co-led by Index Ventures and Initial Capital, with participation from LVP, Portag3 Ventures and XYZ Venture Capital. It also included prominent angel investors and operators who focus on gaming and consumer technology, such as Kristian Segestrale, as well as fintech, such as Gokul Rajaram and Charley Ma. As part of the round, Initial Capital Co-founder and Partner Ken Lamb became a board director while Index Partner Mark Goldberg and XYZ Managing Partner Ross Fubini joined as board observers.
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Sanlo cofounders Olya Caliujnaia and William Liu (Photo: Business Wire)
This unique and complementary set of consumer and fintech leaders will assist and support Sanlo as it develops its offering, which caters to small-to-mid-size gaming and app companies, allowing them to maximize their business potential. Sanlo will use funds to grow its team and continue building out its product suite in preparation for a wider launch later this year.
Confluence of Factors Opens New Opportunities
Sanlo’s funding comes as consumer demand for mobile apps accelerates, particularly in gaming as mobile game revenue accounts for 74% of the total app revenue on Apple and Google (approximately $61.7B). Over the last 12 months, consumer behavior has shifted dramatically, resulting in more people playing than ever. A recent report notes that pandemic restrictions prompted consumers to seek out new forms of entertainment, and many leveraged their smartphones as entertainment devices.
At the same time, game and app development has become easier with new tools and less complex development processes now available to a larger group of developers. With a larger pool of talent "graduating" from companies such as Supercell and King, developers have grown more sophisticated and efficient about how they build, which enables more quality products to enter the marketplace faster. With a higher selection of apps on the market, it’s become more important to invest and reinvest in the initiatives that can ensure a steady stream of users at scale. On top of this, an increasing number of exits and financings in the gaming space, including the Roblox IPO, Hutch Games acquisition by MTG and Metacore’s $179.9M credit line from Supercell, has attracted even greater interest from both the developer and investor communities. The once niche market now has much broader appeal, and with more capital available to deploy, the mobile gaming and app landscape is expected to thrive.
This confluence of factors translates to enormous opportunity for mobile gaming and app companies, yet there is no go-to solution that helps those companies track different aspects of their financial health in a holistic and comprehensive manner. A majority of developers may not have enough time to structure their finances as they would like in order to set them up for smart and scalable growth, which limits their ability to take advantage of opportunities at optimal moments. Sanlo was created to address this issue by ensuring that gaming and app companies stay financially healthy and have the insights and tools required for growth.
"The robust and rapidly expanding universe of tens of thousands of mobile gaming and app companies across multiple platforms is desperately in need of the 'picks and shovels' required to grow these businesses," said Ken Lamb, a co-founder of Initial Capital and a board member of Sanlo. "Sanlo’s technology offers a custom-tailored suite of mission critical products and services that will immediately and dramatically accelerate the revenue trajectories for these companies. The Sanlo team has the ideal experience and expertise to deliver the perfect solutions during this perfect storm."
Built for Game and App Developers
Sanlo was founded in 2020 by Olya Caliujnaia and William Liu, both with a unique combination of experience building games, including Sims, Minions Paradise and Monopoly Slots, as well as fintech, both lending and financial advisory services. As such, they bring a thorough understanding and rich perspective to the challenges early stage and growth stage mobile gaming and app companies face in growing and engaging their audiences.
"Will and I have worked in gaming and have deep respect and appreciation for the work that goes into creating products that bring people joy. We know that oftentimes building takes priority over business operations," said Caliujnaia, co-founder and CEO of Sanlo. "Companies may not always be able to fully realize their potential because of the insufficient visibility into their financial picture and, therefore, miss opportunities to get timely insights and suitable financing to accelerate growth. We want to change that by taking all of the guesswork out of the financial side of running and growing the business."
Sanlo is building a proprietary technology that analyzes different facets of the business to help game and app developers know where to deploy capital and when, for the highest ROI, while assisting with access to capital.
"Sanlo cracked the code to help mobile gaming and app companies reach maturity with a new level of speed, scale and fiscal wellbeing," said Mark Goldberg of Index Ventures. "The company is building a very sophisticated fintech offering that will give those companies superpowers."
Founded in 2020 by gaming and fintech leaders, Sanlo empowers gaming and app companies with the financial products and access to capital that will help them run healthy, sustainable businesses. The company is backed by leading investors in fintech and gaming. Sanlo is based in San Francisco but has a team around the world.
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GMK Communications for Sanlo