One chilly winter morning in 2011, three friends – Ankit Agrawal, Rishabh Agrawal and Yogendra Pratap Singh – met at the Rajeev Chowk Metro Station in Delhi with an agenda. They had always dreamt of starting up before they turned 30. Even when they were in different engineering colleges, they had nursed that dream. They were passionate gamers, and now, the booming mobile market threw new opportunities at them. It was time, they decided, to take the plunge. Amidst bustling commuters rushing off to work, over cups of steaming coffee, the idea of CreatioSoft took shape.
The trio bootstrapped, moved quickly, and in December 2011, they launched 5 mobile gaming apps. One of those was trending in 15 countries just 2 days after the launch and that gave them a boost to officially register their company, CreatioSoft in January 2012. The idea was to build an innovative organization, delivering quality gaming and entertainment products in the mobile space. “We believe that right time, right place and right action made us click,” Ankit, CreatioSoft CEO and co-founder, says.
The company publishes games and applications under its own brand name, and also creates applications for other publishers, businesses, and marketers across platforms, including – “but not limited to” – Android, iOS, Blackberry10 and Windows.
Puzzles to action games
According to the founders, CreatioSoft’s diverse products are their major advantage over others in the space. “Many of our competitors has products in one or two categories, increasing the risk factor. But we have games and apps in almost all categories from racing to puzzle games, casual to action games, photography to utility apps, and video apps to personalization apps,” Ankit says.
An IIT Delhi alumnus, Ankit worked as an analyst with the Royal Bank of Scotland and was a faculty at the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology before turning entrepreneur. He is responsible for setting the strategy and vision of the organization.
CreatioSoft started primarily as a mobile app development company focused only on Android platform. After about three months, they started to focus on Windows app development, and progressed to 2D and 3D games development. “The decision to enter into 3D gaming early on has enabled us in the development of much better quality games, which is essential to survive in the long run. Recently, we have entered into the partnerships with leading players of the industry in terms of distribution that has given our business a new boost,” Rishabh says.
Yogendra adds: “We have also made an entry into Bollywood gaming with official games for movies “Dishkiyaoon” and “Kaanchi” Subhash Ghai’s much-awaited movie . The digital copyright of these movies is with Shotformats Digital which is one of our partners.
The mistake of falling in love
True-blue gamers at heart, the three founders love what they do. They used to spend a lot of time playing games. “In fact, our dreams are actually helping us in making our living,” says Rishabh.
Like all entrepreneurs, they too made big mistakes initially and learnt from those. The biggest mistakes, according to them, were the following:
1. Falling in love with our own ideas: “We have learned this lesson very late. In the beginning, we developed products that we felt will rock the market without proper analysis but results were totally different. When they were launched, Boom! They were absolute failures due to one or the other reasons. To overcome it, we started focusing a lot on analytics, resulting in better user retention and more downloads.”
2. Lack of initial phase planning: “When the company started, lot of things went haywire. We use to develop products without any real documentation behind it with the thought that we will decide as the development goes on. Later on, we realized that the product which should have been possible in one or one-and-a-half months has actually taken more than 3 months due to lack of proper planning at the initial phase. Learning from this, now no development work starts without proper planning and proper documentation.”
The company has a strong user base of about 3 million monthly active users. This ready base decreases their customer acquisition costs.
CreatioSoft‘s revenue model is a combination of the following:
1. Freemium Model (In app purchases).
2. Ad-based model.
3. Affiliate marketing.
4. Development services to clients.
5. Distribution of entities through VAS and OEM operators.
CreatioSoft now has a team of 25. They have not received any funding. “Bootstrapping, to our belief, has been a good thing as it has given us the full supremacy over our decisions without any outside interference,” Ankit says.
“Keep on innovating with focus on creativity,” is their mantra. This approach, they say, has helped them to try new technologies, explore new opportunities and experiment with various ideas – all of which are must-dos for any startup.
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