You might been forgiven for having slightly forgotten about Palringo, an early messaging app founded in 2006 which later became associated with the gaming community. But it’s been building out from humble beginnings and today announces it’s hit 35 million users globally, and is now used by more than 350,000 user groups. This stands in marked contrast to the giants of WhatsApp and Line (and the rest) of course, but its shows that there remains a place for messaging platforms in niches like games.
Founded in Newcastle, UK, but since moved to the tech cluster around Shoreditch, London, the group messaging tool is tightly integrated with games now publishes 12 of its own games on iOS and Android. The app currently has more than 20,000 gaming groups including groups for Clash of Clans, Modern War, Minecraft and League of Legends.
Originally founded by 21-year-old Martin Rosinski, the company has worked on a mix of chat and games and now claims to be adding one million new users a month, and says it’s on track to pass 50 million mark in 2015.
I’m told the growth is coming from a combination of emerging markets, where mobile gaming is on the rise, and greater awareness in the West. Tim Rea, Palringo CEO, says the company has had “fantastic traction in the Middle East” and now plans to build on growth in Russia, India and Brazil. Much of that growth has been driven by its FishBot game which has proved a smash in these markets.
He says its original heritage in Wondows Mobile kept it close to developers, so when it ported to iOS and Android it nurtured those relationships, which stood it in good stead.
On Palringo, users can chat, play games and build communities. The company generates the majority of its revenue from the sale of virtual goods and games through the app, such as animated rich messages and ‘Bots’ that add new functionalities to groups. Users earn reputation and achievement badges by engaging with other users and building and growing new communities. Groups can have up to 2,000 members, so communities stay tight.
Rea says the company is not raising money at the moment and is currently cash rich enough to maintain operations.
Palringo also has UK offices in Newcastle, Ipswich and Gothenburg, Sweden.