Case Study Feature Viker

Viker is a London-based indie mobile studio that develops and publishes free to play mobile games. Having built a portfolio of games in this genre, Viker also recently signed a deal with Sony to acquire the global IP for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — the award-winning quiz show where contestants can double their cash prize with each correct answer and win up to £1,000,000.

Viker’s exec team have worked closely with Pollen VC as a financing partner since 2019, shortly after they raised venture capital funding from Initial Capital and some prominent European and US based gaming angel investors. As founders, capital efficiency was important to them and they did not want to tie up their venture capital funding in user acquisition cycles, hence putting in place a credit facility with Pollen VC.

35%Monthly revenue growth in 2020
Improved capital efficiency

The Problem

Need capital for more user acquisition
Don't want to use VC funding and dilute equity
Want to max borrowing by unlocking value trapped in existing cohorts

The Solution

Having worked with Pollen VC for two years, metrics have scaled upwards and Viker has been reaping the rewards. “If I look at 2020 as a complete year, the month-on-month growth was in excess of 35%. Having the credit facility in place really helped us to deploy more capital and achieve that level of growth,” Beasley says. On the subject of borrowing against the long tail value of existing cohorts, he notes “Being able to extract that kind of future value is of vital importance to us because there is a lot of value trapped in these users. By unlocking it we can increase our pace of acquisition even further.”

Using capital in a non-dilutive way also signals capital efficiency to investors; it shows that studios can be effective in how they use their capital. “Our investors view the facility we have with Pollen VC in an extremely positive light, because our core strategy is licensing global IP and there is an upfront cost to secure it,” says Beasley. He adds that with the use of debt as part of their capital mix, “we don’t have to continually raise more equity and dilute everybody down. So our investors are a big fan of how we use the facility which really is a win for both founder and equity investors.”

Using debt as part of their capital mix is not just a strategy that works for Viker, however, similar success stories are being shared amongst founders all over the world. Beasley says, “I’ve got a really good network of fellow founders through our VCs and angel investors and have introduced many people to the concept. It’s becoming a big part of the mix for entrepreneurial studios who want to scale efficiently.”

Looking into the Future

As a studio, Viker is particularly excited about their acquisition of global IP rights for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The game is in soft launch phase with plans to ramp up in summer 2021, but great franchises do not necessarily sell themselves - UA and growth strategies need to be thought through in the early stages to achieve success. “We use a pretty broad marketing mix at the moment. As a young studio, we try to think a little differently and utilize different channels. TV is part of the mix; likewise, Facebook ads and other networks form part of the mix as well,” says Beasley.

Dan and his team have achieved a lot since their inception, and through our collaboration as a financing partner, we’re excited about the next chapter as their new crop of IP based games launch and start to scale. Viker has a clear vision of owning the IP-based trivia category and we look forward to supporting them in their next stage of growth.

Used credit facility to borrow against AR and existing user value
35% m-o-m revenue growth in 2020
Faster recycling of cash into user acquisition
Improved capital efficiency. Less founder dilution