Japanese startup Fello raises $1M to help game developers improve user retention



See the original story in Japanese.

Singapore-based Unicon, the Japanese startup behind user retention improvement platform Fello, announced today that it has raised 100 million yen (approximately $1 million) from Jafco and other Japanese investors. With these funds, the startup will intensify engineering and marketing efforts and is planning to set up an office in Japan.

The platform provides testing and analysis features for typical mobile gaming app functions such as push notification or messaging via an SDK. According to the startup’s CEO Ryuichi Tanaka, more than 100 app developers have signed up for the service since its launch back in August.

Over 100 app developers have signed up for Fello since its launch in August

In the Japanese gaming industry, many publishers are shifting their development efforts from browser-based apps to native apps. Fello’s growth indicates there’s a high need for this kind of platforms in terms of helping developers improve their apps.

Why are they off to such a good start? Tanaka says that it’s likely because the service is free. For developers, if you have published a number of apps, a plan that charges by volume would be a heavy burden. Users can gain a 7-day user retention rate of up to 60% on average by adding a messaging function using the platform’s SDK. That rate is three times higher than the average without such a function.

So how will the startup monetize this platform? I presumed it would adopt a freemium business model — but I was wrong. Tanaka tells me that they will launch an ad network in the beginning of September, but he could not go into more details.

The startup is targeting casual game developers, and that may be why they are based in Singapore, likely hoping fill the need for this kind of solutions for the entire Asian region. They have already started talks with major game developers that may potentially participate in the ad network. We will update you with more details when they become available.