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Kixeye secures $20m funding for machine learning platform

Mobile firm claims tech optimises gameplay and monetisation to solve the 'one-hit wonder problem'

San Francisco-based games studio Kixeye has closed a successful round of funding to the tune of $20 million.

The finance comes from multiple VCs, including Icon Ventures, Ridge Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. It will be used to further develop Kixeye's in-house machine learning platform.

The platform optimises marketing, monetisation and retention in order to improve the revenues from its various mobile games, including Backyard Monsters and War Commander: Rogue Assault. The tech adapts itself to a person's playstyle and in-game progress, offering purchasable items when they are most needed.

The machine learning technology also analyses how people play each title, identifying common stumbling blocks to help developers prioritise fixes and tweaks. In emails to, it is suggested that this has benefitted each subsequent release and solved the 'one-hit wonder problem' - something our own Rob Fahey recently pondered.

Kixeye CEO Will Harbin thanked the investors from this funding round, adding that he is surprised more Silicon Valley firms aren't paying more attention to the mobile games sector.

"In the West, gaming gets a negative 'hits-driven' moniker and many were or know someone burned doing a later stage Zynga investment," he says.

"All eyes were on Zynga to fast track to a $40 billion company with unrealistic predictability. Expectations were too high. ...I hope investors are able to overcome some of the scar tissue and see what's staring at them in the face: a $50 billion market growing double digit percentage points a year. 

"Is there any similar market that is almost entirely ignored by established investors? I don't think so."

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was