TabTale, the Israel-based kids’ gaming and educational app publisher backed by Qualcomm and others, has made another acquisition to keep growing its position in the market. It has acquired Sunstorm Games, makers of casual gaming apps for kids. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but we understand that it is for up to $6 million.
This is TabTale’s first U.S. acquisition — as befitting its name, Sunstorm is based in the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada — and its fourth overall after buying Israel’s Kids Games Club, Coco Play from China, and Level Bit from Serbia. The last of these is being used to spearhead a move into games for older users to sit alongside TabTale’s existing apps for kids, which is timely, when you consider how companies like Facebook are moving to expand platforms like Messenger precisely to accommodate more short and casual diversions.
This may be TabTale’s first acquisition in the U.S. but that doesn’t mean that TabTale is not already active in that market. It says that of its current 40 million monthly active users, the majority are in the U.S.
While a lot of attention goes to game publishers like Supercell and King for the success of current blockbuster titles like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush, TabTale has been a quiet success in its own right. The company says that it has seen 600 million downloads of its titles across iOS, Android and the Amazon Appstore, putting it into the top 10 of all games publishers globally in terms of downloads.
Taking a different approach from the likes of King and its strong, fairly singular focus on the Candy Crush franchise, TabTale is built as an aggregation play: its traffic is based on the collective download activity from across more than 300 games.
Sunstorm fits into this model, with dozens of games already under its belt in the casual kids’ app space — many following a similar model of assembling cookies, meals, or very simple games. In other words, mildly amusing and simple interactions that have helped parents stave off many a meltdown from their young charges in public places. Sunstorm today has more than 5 million monthly active users across its current app catalog.
Indeed the synergy appears to be what attracted TabTale when considering how it would grow.
“We followed Sunstorm’s activity for a while and reached the conclusion that acquiring Sunstorm and working alongside its talented team, will not only enrich our portfolio, but will also expand our worldwide reach,” said TabTale CEO Sagi Schliesser, in a statement. “Sunstorm Games has a proven loyal fan base, similar to that of TabTale. We look forward to collaborating with Sunstorm and continuing to develop the best mobile games for our loyal customers.”
What’s also interesting to see here is how Israel continues to evolve in terms of its startup landscape. The country used to have a reputation as a fertile ground for enterprise startups, but notable exits like Waze selling to Google, Viber selling to Rakuten, and Meerkat emerging as a viral hit in the live video space, have shown that there is more to the country than meets the enterprising eye.