CodeWalla was founded in 2006 with the aim to give clients a reliable, round-the-clock development team able to collaborate on great ideas with an accomplished understanding of intuitive design. 6 years later, social networks came and went, platforms changed, but Rakesh Raju believes CodeWalla's beliefs haven't.“Great applications. Great people. And because we're both NYC and India based – a global context to keep things moving” he tells Yourstory. Read more!
Rakesh, please take the readers of YourStory through the journey of Codewalla over its 6 years of existence.
Games are a great combination of my passions and experience and as it turns out it's one of the fastest growing and most cutting-edge industries. So starting a company that develops games and related technology seemed like a very obvious thing to do.
Beyond the direct experience of playing, Games are a fascinating industry on so many different levels. Games are having a profound impact on a wide range of areas - be it hardware technology, software product design - consumer and enterprise, marketing or even society and culture as a whole.
So the Codewalla journey has been absolutely exciting. From online to social to mobile and now to cross-platform, it’s a journey that mirrors the fast evolving Games space. Our strategy has always been to invest heavily in research and quickly adopt new technologies and game design mechanics. This early adopter mindset is in our DNA and has really helped us provide cutting edge solutions for our clients and build a solid business.
We are now taking our expertise in development and productizing it. We have started a new venture to create a product line of cross platform game development tools. We believe it is going to disrupt the space by taking into consideration the requirements of Game studios of the future.
What technologies does Codewalla have as its core competencies?
What was the first game you worked on and what has been your most cherished project?
The first game that Codewalla was involved in was a large scale, multi-player Online poker service. The game was extremely popular and Codewalla was involved in scaling it up to the next level to support millions of players everyday. This meant having to quickly build large teams of developers with relatively uncommon skill sets and deep experience. Back then, it was very challenging to get started because the skill set we required was nearly non-existent in India. But we were lucky to find some of the best available talent.
Since then, we worked on various other projects of developing games and apps for start-ups as well as large Fortune 500 companies. However, my most cherished project is the one we are involved in right now, TreSensa - a HTML5 game development platform. With TreSensa, we are going to leverage all our experience to solve the problems of game studios and get their development efforts and costs down. We are actually working on something ground breaking, something that’s going to change the way games are built.
Wow, that sounds exciting. What else are you onto? Please tell us a little about your expansion plans.
Games, Social and Mobile are transforming every aspect of not only how we live and play but increasingly, how we do business. In addition to consumer apps and games, we are excited about bringing our insights and capabilities to new areas like enterprise mobility. All of this represents an unprecedented opportunity for which Codewalla is perfectly suited. Our success over the last few years has convinced us about Product Market Fit. So now the focus is going to be on scaling our business. We will be looking for designers and developers with a hacker mindset to drive our vision.
So what led you to study at the Art institute and the consequent entrepreneurial shift?
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago had an incredible variety of courses and students had the option to choose and create a very eclectic program for themselves. I got exposed to multiple fields including architecture, design, painting, sound, video, computer programming and performance art, which nurtured and ignited my creative instincts.
The School of the Art Institute also introduced me to the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois Chicago, which was the real beginning of my education as an interactive graphics programmer.
Entrepreneurial shift is really an extension of what has driven me always - to create, to innovate, bring new ideas to life. Being an entrepreneur I get to do it in a manner that really reflects my passion. It allows me to apply this innovation to a gap in the marketplace at a much faster pace than a larger company. And I know this from my first hand experience of working at large companies like Disney and Real Networks.
At Codewalla, even after so many years, we enjoy the start-up environment in the company - quick decisions, flat organization structure, and environment driven by creativity and technology where innovation is imperative.
What kind of investment was required to startup and when did you break even? Also, how does your revenue model work?
I had worked in the US for over 10 years and had some decent exits thanks to which we were able to bootstrap. We did not need any external funding for a small team and an office. Fortunately we have been profitable from day one and for 25 quarters straight.
Our revenue model is a mix of technology licensing and development services.
In addition to our technology expertise and processes, we have developed a suite of game technology products which accelerate our development and are also great differentiators for us.
Finally, what difference do you see in the gaming markets in the US and India?
My guess is that urban India is a bit closer to western countries when it comes to internet and smartphone penetration, social networking and gaming usage patterns.
It may take some time and a lot more experimentation for the revenues per Indian user to become more meaningful to game developers in general. However, with the advent of new platforms (like Facebook and Mobile), monetization models (freemium and advertising) and payment mechanisms (micro-transactions and virtual currencies), and the trend towards democratization of content creation tools, the future of the gaming market in India holds tremendous promise. The Kolaveri of games is perhaps right around the corner.
Game enthusiast? Do check out CodeWalla and share your views with us by dropping a comment right here!
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