TEAM WHO IS SEARCHING FOR GAMING NIRVANA – APPEVO STUDIO FROM UKRAINE
They come from Ukraine. They are four guys who truly love making games. They have launched already one game and are developing their next project. They are tough enough to survive 24-hour bus ride from Kiev to Tallinn. Who are they? Well, let us introduce you Appevo Studio – Maksym Ryndia, Dmitry Malakhov, Andriy Borisenko and Vitaly Starush.
The story started back in the days when Maksym was studying together with Dmitry and Andriy in the Physics faculty. Already then they felt they are more enterpreneurish kind of guys than the other students of their faculty, thinking about business and how to make money. One day Maksym and Dmitry skipped the classes(!) and went to a bar together to talk about what to do and how. Like many other good ideas have come out of “just going out for a beer”, during this meeting they finally figured out that the right thing to do is to try with mobile applications. “It was easier than we thought. We needed an artist and more people to the team, but we had already these 2 in mind – Vitaliy and Andriy. And suddenly, the first project “Scibeaver” was born,” describes Maksym.
Their first game was about science because of the simple fact that everybody studied physics. “We wanted to create something unique, something you couldn´t find in the AppStore,” continues Maksym. They thought creating a game with brand new mechanics and fancy art style will get them to top in a blink of an eye. However, the money and the fame were not yet to come.
Now they are working on a new project called “Fun Time Bros”. Dmitry recalls: “The idea for the game basically came from Vitaly´s head. It´s a fun game with cute characters and simple mechanics which will help to attract wider audience.
Apart from GameFounders, Appevo Studio had a few other tech accelerator/incubator options, but these 4 guys decided to go for a purely gaming oriented accelerator and here they are now. It´s been 2 months already! Even though the first weeks didn´t go exactly as they had thought (they caught cold from the bus trip, had to change their working schedule and much more), Maksym, Dmitry and Vitaliy are glad they took the opportunity and have this 3-months experience to take with them when they return to their home country. Andriy, their fourth member, is working from long distance as he has some university obligations and can´t be with the team on daily basis.
All of the guys agree that the advice they get from the accelerator the most is business wise and not so much game wise. “We have come to understand that we are no indie developers. We want to make money, do business and therefore make necessary connections with right people,” says Maksym. According to Vitaly, Appevo team came to Estonia just to realize that they know nothing yet. Maksym puts it like this: “Being in GameFounders is like searching for Nirvana – to know more about yourself, your game and the industry”.
During the programme all the teams meet at least 50+ mentors all over the world and across the industry, so each team receives feedback from all of them and sometimes the advice can be pretty controversial. “Sometimes negative feedback is more mind opening and helps to focus our attention on what should be changed in the game. We are game developers and we already love our games as they are,” states Maksym. Dima adds: “Every mentor has his/her opinion and that is great! We can hear them out, discuss and decide if changing something makes it better or not”.
When talking about the city they have been living in for the past few months, Maksym, Vitaly and Dmitry find it really nice and friendly. “Tallinn is like Kiev, but the buses run on schedule,” compares Vitaly. Maksym sees the Talliners as happier and calmer than people in Kiev and thinks the locals here seem more satisfied with life comparing those back in their home country. Unfortunately Dima doesn´t like Estonian weather: “I want to see the sun!” Vitaliy says, laughing, that Dima has made his decision already – he is definitely more of a San Francisco-kind-of-guy.
Appevo Studio´s headquarters is in a rental apartment not far from the GF office. They are lucky because their landlord is a great guy who didn´t mind picking Maksym and Vitaly up from the bus station on their arrival and even had time to take them to a little city tour as a warm welcome to Estonia. Vitaly thinks that there is too much prejudice about the situation for Russian speaking people coming to Estonia: “We have not experienced any problems when speaking in Russian. People either respond in Russian or say politely that they don´t speak it.”
Their everyday life doesn´t differ much from what they are used to having back home. Except sharing one apartment here. Homeworks are devided between all 3 – Dmitry cooks and the others help by cleaning. According to Vitaly, Dima is the ideal man who makes the whole team eat properly, clean the house and also go to the gym, “he is the captain of a ship that is about to sink, but he still keeps it going.”
Time flies fast, there is only a month left until the graduation of GameFounders´ batch 3 and soon the 4th round of applications will be open. Appevo Studio´s advice for the gaming startups applying to GameFounders is following: “Better send more of your business guys here, there is not too much time to develop the games between all the mentor sessions, seminars, networking events and other stuff happening all the time!”
Appevo Studio (from left): Vitaly, Dmitry, Andriy and Maksym