Twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s free zone for media and entertainment, has acquired a stake in the online gaming start-up Unnyhog.
The start-up was among the seven companies that graduated last year in the first cycle of the incubator Flat6labs Abu Dhabi.
Pavel Ignatov, the chief executive, said Unnyhog has raised US$360,000 so far. It has a team of 12 people in the US, Russia and Europe.
Twofour54 did not provide details of its investment.
Unnyhog was accepted by the California incubator YCombinator in December, where its games are undergoing further development.
The incubator invests $120,000 for a 7 per cent equity in the start-ups it accepts.
On March 24, Thursday next week, it will participate in a Demo Day in California where it will pitch for further investment.
Its current project, UnnyWorld, a cross-platform multiplayer online fantasy game, was launched in Malaysia on Android last month.
“Later we will launch the game on iOS and expand the game from Malaysia to other countries,” Mr Ignatov said.
Twofour54 has previously invested in online gaming platforms such as Falafel Games, in 2014, and Jawaker, in 2011.
“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,” said Maryam Al Mheiri, the acting chief executive of twofour54.
Revenues from gaming, among the fastest-growing media segment in the Middle East, is expected to reach $4.4 billion in 2022 from $1.6bn in 2014, said a study by twofour54 and consultants Strategy& in 2014.
The estimates are based on the number of mobile phone users in the region increasing. In 2022, about half of all gaming revenue is expected to come from mobile gaming users.
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 SAE Institute, which was acquired by investment firm CedarBridge. SAE Institute offers degrees in audio and film production, 3D animation and games programming.
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