HitFox, the Team Europe co-founded and styled ‘startup factory’ focussed on founding and acquiring games distribution startups, is stepping on the gas by expanding into the Asia-Pacific region with a dedicated office in Seoul. The move is designed to help enlarge the footprint of HitFox’s current portfolio — ad2games, AppLift and Game Finder — which provide marketing and distribution solutions for mobile and online game publishers. These include the likes of Gameloft, TinyCo, and Kabam, along with Asia-Pacific game publishers such as Aeria Games, and Com2uS.
Additionally, Ludolf Ebner-Chung, who we’re told is a German-Korean by birth, has been recruited as HitFox’s General Manager in the region, and — unsurprisingly — he joins from another Team Europe venture, Yogiyo, the Korean subsidiary of take-out service, Delivery Hero. Prior to heading up Yogiyo, Ebner-Chung was a General Manager at Korean gaming company NCSoft, and also previously worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Co in Germany.
HitFox CEO, Jan Beckers, explained the reasoning behind opening a physical office in Asia, noting that it’s more than just biz dev and sales. “Being present there will not only increase sales and visibility but also gives us an ear into the market. We will be able to work more closely with our partners and see trends earlier than competitors who are not present in these markets”, he says.
The company also plans to roll out localised versions of its B2C products, while also giving the Asian games publishers it already works with, a much quicker and more direct route into the U.S. and European markets.
“We are already working with a lot of Asian publishers, such as Com2uS to distribute their online and mobile games in Europe and the U.S.”, says Beckers. “However a timelag of 9 hours and flight times of 15 hours between us and our partners slow things down. Having a local office and team in Asia will make our collaboration much easier.”
Berlin-based incubator, HitFox, was founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneurs Jan Beckers, Dr. Hanno Fichtner, Tim Koschella and Ruben Haas in “co-operation” with Team Europe. In that sense, it’s sort of a ‘startup factory’ which is a product of a startup factory itself, German-syle, of course.
When I recently met Beckers for a coffee, it was self-evident that he himself cut his teeth at Team Europe, with his relentless focus on execution and non-apoligetic attitude to adopting the German incubator model, although it should be noted that his startup experience began at a much earlier age when he founded his first company while still a student. He also used to be editor of a well-known German startup blog, giving us a chance to swap blogger-to-entrepreneur war stories (he’s evidently come out the other side better off than I).
As noted when HitFox first announced it was morphing into an incubator, it boasts a team of 70 gaming, marketing and IT specialists — hence my ‘startup factory’ description — and aims to acquire or
manufacture establish at least two businesses per year. From today, those businesses can really think global from the get-go.
“[In] 12-24 months from now we want to be able to support our mobile and online game publishers from local presences in all major gaming regions of the world”, says Beckers.