To hit a billion-dollar valuation in gaming, you do not need a title with ray guns or a princess in distress. No, you can get by—handsomely—on hits like the mobile game Woodoku, a combination of Tetris and sudoku done with timber blocks. It’s made by the London-based startup TripleDot, which also makes a popular souped-up version of solitaire.
“We make games that make it more fun to be relaxing in front of the TV or to pass the time waiting for the dentist,” says Akin Babayigit, a cofounder and the chief operating officer. “We don’t pretend that we’ve found a cure for cancer. But we do believe we make the day more enjoyable.”
To keep creating things like Wooduku, TripleDot has raised a $116 million Series B at a $1.6 billion valuation, which comes less than a year after an earlier $78 million funding round. The latest cash comes from Harry Stebbings’ 20VC, billionaire Len Blavantik’s Access Industries and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The five-year-old company’s games have over 30 million monthly users.
TripleDot runs counter to the loudest thing in gaming right now: the idea of a metaverse, a boundless, complex, digital realm. (It does not really exist yet—Fortnite comes the closest. But Mark Zuckerberg’s determination to shift his company’s focus to this virtual technology has ignited fevered interest from companies like his as well as traditional gaming ones.) Instead, TripleDot falls more into the same camp as another recent obsession: Wordle. Both Worlde and TripleDot’s games are simply constructed puzzles. And that simplicity is key to avoiding a fate many mobile games experience: quick abandonment by most users, says CEO and cofounder Lio Shiff.
TripleDot’s guiding light, he says, is “to be excellent in the unsexy part of gaming.”