Continue from our last story about Angry Birds and its developer, Rovio.
The 52nd game
Rovio was started by three students from Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University School of Science and Technology), Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen, and Kim Dikert. In 2003, they participated in a mobile game development competition at the Assembly demo party sponsored by Nokia and HP. They won the competition and Niklas asked Peter Vesterbacka, who was HP’s representative, what they should do afterwards. Peter said, “You should form a company and make many mobile games.”
So, the trio started making games. Firstly, it was for other companies. “We learn a lot using others’ money.” And then, they made they own. Finally, in December 2009, they launched their 52nd game, Angry Birds and became famous world-wide.
“Angry Birds is not a overnight success,” said Peter. He encourages young people to try and may one day, just like the trio in Finland and found their own dream come true. Today, Peter consults young entrepreneurs via a startup organization called, Aaltoes, or Aalto Entrepreneurship Society in full. It is one of Europe’s largest and most active entrepreneurship community. “We gather the most talented students and researchers to create more startups and build international connections in and around Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland,” said Antti Ylimutka, one of Aaltoes’ Board Member.
Based in Finland, where Sauna is favourite pastimes for locals, Aaltoes’ startup event is called Startup Sauna. According to Antti, they are expanding the tradition to Asia and will have a Startup Sauna event organized in Shanghai Tongzhi Uninversity.
Angry Birds next stop – Shanghai
Rovio is also expanding to Asia. And it will setup an office in Shanghai, the first one outside of its headquarter in Finland. “China is our second largest market after America, and it is growing fast,” said Peter. Out of the 500 million downloads Angry Birds has recorded, 100 million was from China. It is expected to hire 50 people, doing everything from developing games, to marketing, to doing animation, finding manufacturers to make physical goods, etc.
“Next year is the Year of Dragon. We will make an Angry Birds special edition for Year of Dragon,” said Peter, “In fact, we have done special edition of Chinese theme before – it was for the Mooncake Festival. It was a global distribution. Just image, for the first time 10 million of people outside of China have heard of the Mooncake Festival. We have even launched Angry Birds Mooncakes.”
In the future, Rovio will incorporate more Chinese favour in its products. “We want to be local. We are happy to learn,” said Peter, “We want to be more Chinese than Chinese companies.”