Today, GSN Games’ purchase of Bash Gaming out of India went through. We’ve confirmed, through sources familiar with the matter, that the deal closed right around the $165 million mark.
Pre-acquisition, Bash Gaming had raised a total of 200k in funding from Tandem Capital. If you’re having trouble with the math, the return to seed investors was over 100x while the founders owned 80 percent of the business, according to sources. That’s a lot of money.
So how did this Cinderella story play out?
Bash Gaming came on to the scene around 2010 with social casino games for Facebook. In early 2012, Tandem Capital, an accelerator fund based in Silicon Valley, took on the company with the intended goal of moving the same games from the Facebook platform to mobile.
Turns out it was incredibly successful.
In a very short time, Tandem was ready to close a bridge round with Bash Gaming and put in $200K on its own just before receiving around $800K from the Tandem investor network. The $1 million round closed just days after the team decided to raise.
Though he wouldn’t confirm the details of the acquisition, Tandem Capital’s Doug Renert did offer some insights into how Bash Gaming pulled off the biggest exit for any Indian gaming startup.
“Because of how easily we closed the round, we were able to put all our attention on speed and market fit,” said Renert. “Bash helped grow the developer team in India from 10 people to 100 people really quickly, allowing them to scale the company as fast as possible.”
At the time, there were no dominant social casino game platforms, so the strategy was really to beat anyone else to market and then maintain that user base. Once players have invested time, energy, and money into a gaming platform, they are more likely to quit playing entirely than to move to another platform to spend the same money.
“We don’t focus on gaming companies very often. It’s hard to identify where there’s a large market,” said Renert. “But we decided to go all in with Bash Gaming because most of the games they’re building aren’t just a novelty. These are games that have been around for centuries in some cases, and people love playing them together.”
This isn’t the first big news we’re seeing from a gaming company. The space is getting even hotter, with folks like SocialPoint bringing four new MASS games to market and King headed to an IPO. But as with any crowded space, picking the winners in gaming can be a tough one.
Luckily for Tandem, and Bash Gaming, the risk was worth the reward.