Twofour54 and Ycombinator invest in gaming developer Unnyhog

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Four years after investing in social gaming sites Jawaker and Tahadi, and almost two years after investing in Arabic online game developer Falafel Games, twofour54 has announced yet another investment in the gaming industry: Unnyhog.

The Abu Dhabi’s free zone for media and entertainment, Twofour54, alongside YCombinator, took a stake in online cross-platform gaming startup, Unnyhog. The company was among the seven companies that graduated in the first cycle of the incubator Flat6labs Abu Dhabi in 2015.

Unnyhog was accepted by the California incubator YCombinator in December 2015, to develop its games. YCombinator invests $120,000 for a 7 percent equity in the startups it accepts.

Unnyworld
Unnyhog's latest game. (Image via Unnyhog)

“We are focused on changing the gaming industry through developing unique games,” said Pavel Ignatov, founder and CEO of Unnyhog, in a statement.  

Initially established with the objective of introducing technological innovations to gaming design, Unnyhog has raised $360,000 so far, according to Ignatov, and has a team of 12 people in the US, Russia and Europe.

“We are witnessing a growing demand in the gaming sector due to increased online connectivity, smartphone penetration and availability of 3G and 4G technologies in emerging markets. Now more than ever, entrepreneurship is playing a vital role in boosting economies and employment opportunities. At twofour54 we dedicate resources to investing in the entrepreneurs and start-ups who will be the leaders and employers of our future industry,” said Maryam Al Mheiri, acting CEO of twofour54.

A study commissioned by twofour54 and Strategy& in 2014, showed that gaming is the fastest-growing media segment in the Middle East and is expected to nearly triple in size from $1.6 billion in 2014 to $4.4 billion by 2022.

Although console gaming is still the leading platform, online, digital and mobile games are projected to become the dominant platforms in less than a decade. With almost 530 million mobile phone users in the Middle East alone and smartphone penetration rising 39 percent in 2015, it is expected that 50 percent of all gaming revenue will come from mobile gaming by 2022.

Justin Kan, YCombinator Partner said: "We invested in Unnyhog because Pavel and the team seemed like great founders and minute one we became addicted to the game. Can't wait for the launch!"

Unnyhog recently developed UnnyWorld, a cross-platform multiplayer online game based in a fantasy world. UnnyWorld utilises a gesture control technology that was designed to provide an engaging experience in a fast-paced game played by millions worldwide.

With its Unnyhog stake, twofour54 has now invested in 11 companies including Silkroad Images, Mumzworld, Falafel Games, Jawaker, PopArabia, T-Break Media, Akhtaboot, ­Nibras, Istikana and The Luxury Closet.

Last year, it exited the UAE arm of the SAE Institute (School of Audio Engineering), with an acquisition by the education investor CedarBridge.

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