In this article, the team at Frog Valley uncovers a little gem of a startup dedicated to online video games.
It is at a Minibar event (I promise to share with you what the Minibar and other essential events for entrepreneurs in London are) that I met Nicolas who told me about Blouzar. Blouzar is an online game business which he co-founded with Chris (now Non-Exec. Director) two years ago. Prior to Blouzar (check out its Facebook page here and its Twitter account here), Nicolas gained some startup experience with Ouza, which he since closed and transferred to Blouzar.
Blouzar specialises in G-coms and has developed five games, the last one being Miss Bimbo. For those of you who don’t know what G-coms are, they are games based on real life and communities. They are becoming more and more popular with teenagers and young adults. Regarding the design, it is difficult to describe it, somewhere between manga and occidental style, but it seems to please the majority of players.
Nicolas, who has a background in computer sciences and Chris, more oriented business and marketing, have built around them a team of three people with rather technical profiles: Piotr Nierobisz (web developer), Joey – « DeathRay » (super geek); Charles Martin (web developer). So far, the company has grown organically, as no funding was required to launch the startup. Nicolas and his team have also kept costs to a minimum. Looking for growth, Nicolas and Chris are now seeking funds to move on to the next stage and be better positioned against competitors such as Stardoll (which has attracted investors like Sequoia Capital in 2006 by raising more than $6m) and Moshi Monster (which raised money from Index Ventures). Blouzar is trying to differentiate from competitors by targeting a different population, slightly older than that of its competitors. Then you also have the games for Facebook which are now the main drivers of growth; Facebook is still marginal in online gaming but not for long. The business model is based on virtual money (Bimbo Dollars) and transactions made by micro payment. In addition, users can take subscriptions, for example to become a VIB (Very Important Bimbo) which gives access to more features.
What are the games available on Blouzar?
In the G-coms category:
Miss Bimbo – Latest game from Blouzar. Everything is in the name; this game engages more the young adults (average age of 19 y.o.). Miss Bimbo is a large g-com of fashion conscious daughters, mothers and grandmothers. Miss Bimbo players enjoy shopping for their virtual ‘bimbo’ as well as entering fashion contests and chatting in the forums about all things female.
Little hooliganz – Little Hooliganz is a newly launched g-com where sons, fathers and grandfathers can enjoy all things football. The game counts more than 83000 members.
Papermint – Destined for girls, it allows you to make your own clothes and more: 3D world and chat live with your friends!
And the ones which should be launched soon:
My Bambino – The game where you have to take care of a cute baby. Destined for the youngest, it is about looking after a baby, a bit like Tamagotchi (do you remember?)
Super Fashion Star. Similar to Papermint but for an audience slightly older and on the model of x-factor.
Blouzar has also in its portfolio two Flash games, based on two famous characters:
Nosh For Posh: Our national ‘posh’ is the star of this game and she needs to put on weight.
The team at Frog Valley might not be of the right age, but we really loved the originality (and the little touch of irreverence) of Blouzar’s games. We therefore feel confident that Blouzar will be able to grow, with or without private funding. To be continued.