One year ago, says founder Chris Ye, Uken Games
had five staff, and it has grown since then to employ 27 people in its Toronto office. And they're still hiring.
"We are expecting to be 40 people by the end of this quarter," he says. "We think that 2012 will be the year mobile gaming really blows up, and we think over the next two to five years, a few really large companies will emerge to dominate the field. We aim to be one of them."
The company was launched three years ago when Ye and co-founder Mark Lampert met at a Facebook app development camp. "We had some success with some gifting apps," he says, noting that a trick-or-treating application they developed for the social network drew sponsorship from Nestle. "We had a million monthly active users, we made money, and that got us excited."
The duo began making games, and eventually started selling those games across multiple platforms so they were not just playable on Facebook, but through iPhone, Android and Blackberry mobile devices. They now have eight titles, and a game engine that allows them to develop more new games quickly. "We've got 25 million installs now, and we've got large-scale distribution. So we're focused on launching new titles."
Ye says that the company has been profitable for two years now, and has been able to finance its growth through revenue without taking on outside investment. And that has meant, too, that they haven't had to consider moving.
"You can do it without going to Silicon Valley," he says. "There's great talent here in Toronto, which was the driver for us in choosing to stay here. But we also like being at home."
Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Chris Ye, Founder and CEO, Uken Games