Stream Media: getting to Series-A

March 8, 2011 | By More

On 7th February 2011 a press release (here) appeared on my inbox announcing that Stream Media had closed their Series-A funding round of SGD$1 million with SingTel, Stream Global and Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF).

This was an exciting milestone for the team and culminates many months of hard work, meetings and long discussions by Stream Media’s founder, Zi Yong to raise the funds he needs for the next stage.

Zi Yong, founder of StreamMedia

The idea for Stream Media (not related to Stream Global) was inspired in 2009 when he was working on an idea for mobile TV.  Finding too many pieces still unresolved in that area, he decided to focus on a similar but simpler problem, namely games.

Games developers have a hard time generating revenue because users mostly download free games.  After trying out trial versions, most people do not take the next step to download and pay for the full version.

This was confirmed at CommunicAsia 2010 by Amrish Kacker head of Asia-Pacific for Analysys Mason.  He pointed out that only 1% of mobile subscribers in Asia pay to download games compared to 60% iPhone users!

Zi Yong had a way to solve this problem – and called it MoVend, a mobile vending machine.

When Zi Yong first explained his idea to me, it was clear that this is a new way to monetise mobile payments, not only for games but for any kind of software.   There is no need to create two versions: trial and full. Users need only download one version of the game (or app) and use it right away.  The game can be designed in such a way that the user only needs to pay if she needs to access special features that the developer considers chargeable – such as extra strength, weapons or get special features.

It is free to download and play without paying.  You only pay for the special stuff as needed during the game.  This type of game is known as ‘freemium’ — free to play but you pay for the premium features.

In Dec 2010, Juniper Research forecast the size of ‘freemium’ gaming will exceed US$11billion annually by 2015, nearly double the market in 2009.

Game experience is critical for any game and must not be degraded if in-game payment options are incorporated.   If not done appropriately, the game experience can be very dissatisfying for the user.  MoVend achieves this seamlessly without spoiling the game experience  and allowing a choice of easy payment options to be presented to the user.

StreamMedia website www.streammed.com

When MoVend was launched in July 2010, few realised its full potential.  A few months after the launch, it was clear this was harder than expected. He needed to get attention of potential investors in order to continue development of MoVend without interruption. We had to explain MoVend simply and clearly – to developers to sign them up and to investors to raise more funds.

After we revamped and improved the presentation, his sponsors at the NUS Enterprise Incubator thought he had come up with a new business plan!

The next few months was spent pitching this new approach to content publishers (as games developers are called) in China and Europe as well as potential investors. The first investor to express interest was Stream Global, followed by NRF. Then SingTel Innov8, SingTel’s investment arm, jumped in.  Mobile game publishers like Hyperbees (U.K.) and GoodTeam Studios (China) also signed up to use MoVend.

One of the first Android phone games incorporating MoVend from GoodTeam Studios (China). It's Free.

Zi Yong is on his way to achieve his dream to make MoVend a game changer for mobile business.    Perhaps Stream Media will be one of those players we will hear about more in the future!

Lesson for new entrepreneurs: make sure you idea solves a real business problem.   Then make sure you know how to explain it well!

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About the Author ()

EngTong, pioneer and innovator. Graduated from Imperial College London with an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. Lived in Scotland, England, California, Beijing and led teams in Italy, France, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia to do the impossible. Now based in Singapore and believes the future is to blend the sophistication of western management practices with the strength of Asian Values. Trained as a Chartered Engineer. Member of IET, Associate of City and Guilds and a certified SixSigma Champion.

Comments (4)

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  1. A Arthur says:

    Very good video presentation. Would like to read more about ‘how to’ series on getting financing for small business. thanks

    A Arthur

    • Error: Unable to create directory uploads/2017/08. Is its parent directory writable by the server? ET says:

      Thanks Arthur, come back later for a future posting on fund-raising.

  2. web designer says:

    good job. i am showing your video tonight to my students. i hope they can learn a thing or two from you guys.

    • Error: Unable to create directory uploads/2017/08. Is its parent directory writable by the server? ET says:

      Thank you for your interest and support. The purpose of this site is to share pragmatic and simple learnings.