The End of the Beginning
Dear Space Apes,
excited proud thrilled been working on this for months without being able to say anything and it has been killing me excited to announce that Space Ape has entered a long-term strategic partnership with Supercell.
ZOMG. What does it mean and where to begin?!
First, with our story: We started Space Ape nearly five years ago with the goal to make the best mobile games in the world. We founded our company on a few basic beliefs. That our passion in life was to play and make games. That everyone should share in our joy and therefore smartphones are the best gaming platform ever. Finally: that you are one of the greatest teams in the world and, given enough time, we would achieve our goal.
The five years that followed has been a whirlwind of ups, downs, fun, frustration, and everything in between. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
There was that youthful unlimited-possibility phase where it was fifteen of us, a dream, an office above a vintage card shop in Soho, and a faucet that never-stopped-leaking.
There was that insecure phase after our first failure when we almost ran out of money. When I obsessed over Supercell. <OK…that never ended>. But I learned to obsess over how they did it instead of what they did. Their approach spoke to me. I recognized ourselves in it.
There was the doldrums phase where things didn’t ever seem to work as well as we hoped they would. We were pedalling furiously just to stay in place.
Then it started to click. We became profitable. We mastered live-ops. But we knew there was something greater to reach for and that we’d need to make bigger bets, and be more innovative, to find it.
Throughout it all, mistakes were made, mostly by me. Great games were made, mostly by you. Millions of people played them. The learnings piled up. We unfailingly, inexorably, kept…getting…better. Together we created a wonderful culture the likes of which I’ve never been a part of before.
Which brings us to today: The roaring-bonfire-of-awesome phase. We started taking big risks (because we can afford to!). We’ve gotten innovative. We sift through our work and kill everything but the best stuff. Our teams keep getting smaller and our games keep getting better. Really good games have started to emerge. This phase is our little secret. No one has seen it in action yet… almost no one… except Supercell.
Why Supercell? Supercell is a kindred company. They love games as much as we do, in a mobile games industry I often feel is just not passionate enough about playing games themselves. Supercell works like we work: in small, collaborative teams. Supercell is patient, innovative, ambitious, and enormously successful. They are prepared for the ups and downs our journey will continue to bring because they’ve been there. They believe in us. They’ll let us dream bigger and think longer term.
We first discussed the idea in early 2016. Our game leads met with their game leads. It didn’t work out. We weren’t chasing our dream then like we are now. We learned from that experience. It motivated us to improve. We resumed the conversation earlier this year and this partnership is the result.
So what now? Space Ape remains an independent company. Supercell has acquired 62% percent of our shares at a total equity value of $90M. We still own the rest. We are masters of our own destiny and have operational independence to run our company as we see fit. Our mission is unchanged: to make the world’s best mobile games. This is a long-range partnership with long-range outcomes. It’s important that you know we’re still in the exact same place as we were yesterday: doing well but not at our destination. But now we’ve got Supercell’s support to help us make and distribute massive hit games when and if we need that support.
Thank you, our players: you are everything to us. Our business is built upon the time, passion and feedback you have given our games.
Thank you, our investors, for believing in us. I’m grateful for all of your support and guidance.
Thank you Supercell: especially Ilkka, Jaakko, Janne, Jonathan, Lasse, Lassi, Mikko, and Timur. Your accomplishments are inspiring.
And finally, thank you fellow Space Apes. Thank you for your hard work, your passion, your trust, your friendship, and your memes. Let’s celebrate today and get back to it tomorrow. The second chapter beckons. We’ve got work to do and dreams to chase.