Publisher of the mobile hit-game Subway Surfers, Kiloo, beat the rest of the competition with a growth of over 2000 %
Last year they came in second, but this year, Danish game publisher and developer, Kiloo, came out on top when business newspaper Borsen gave out their ‘Gazelle’-award to the best growth companies of the year across all business sectors.
The award comes after a period of impressive growth for the Aarhus based publisher and developer. Since 2010, the company has managed to grow no less than 2215 %, generate a yearly revenue of $24 million, reach a company valuation of around $170 million, and employ 100 people.
Founded in 2000, Kiloo is far from a new company. For many years they enjoyed some succes with games such as Frisbee Forever and a number af licenced titles. The latest explosive growth however, is a result of their partnership with Copenhagen-based developer SYBO games, and their phone/tablet game Subway Surfers, which has been downloaded more than 500 mio. times at the time of writing. And during the award ceremony in Copenhagen, it was revealed that even the presenter of the award, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, has tried his hand at the charming endless runner.
But even with the best growth company of the year being a game developer/publisher, other Danish developers might not want to get their hopes up regarding increased interest in games from investors. According to Nikolaj Nyholm, partner at game investor firm Sunstone Capital, the award will probably do very little to change the situation for Danish game developers looking for investments.
“Most investors don’t understand game investments and still consider the risk being the same as for feature film production or AAA game productions – a hit-driven business where half of the revenue happens on the first weekend.”
Nyholm points to Supercell and King.com as examples of companies that he believes have been priced much too low by investors, because very few of them have realized that games are now often the first step in creating new entertainment franchise.
Nyholm also doubts that we will see any new companies copying the succes Kiloo has had with Subway Surfers. Publishing other developers games, as the deal between Kiloo and Sybo started out as, is not something he considers a viable business in the future. “The time is over regarding Kiloo as a publisher. That’s probably what Kiloo has also realized themselves, since they are using some of their money to build up a development studio of their own, rather than publish other people’s games.”
Right now, the first title from Kiloo’s own development studios is being rolled out worldwide. The Kung-Fu Panda-inspired Smash Champs is Kiloo’s first release since Subway Surfers, and it might serve as an indicator for whether or not Kiloo can replicate the success of Subway Surfers with an in-house production.
Asked if he believes that Kiloo can evolve into a new Supercell or Rovio, Nyholm actually points to the original developer of Subway Surfers, SYBO games, instead. “If the question was, if SYBO could, my answer would be yes.” And overall he’s actually a bit disappointed, that SYBO didn’t get a part of the award.
It’s a shame, that the award didn’t go to SYBO, who created Subway Surfers, and then successfully choose Kiloo as publisher.
Kiloo has declined to comment on the story themselves. “We do not make statements to the press. That applies to this occation as well,” says Kiloo’s Chief Creative Officer Simon Møller to Nordic Game Bits.