Plain Vanilla Games
|Plain Vanilla Games|
|PV Hugbúnaður ehf (2010–2014)|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||19 December 2010|
|Defunct||31 August 2016|
Number of employees
|Parent||Glu Mobile (2016)|
|Subsidiaries||Plain Vanilla Corp.|
PV Hugbúnaður hf., doing business as Plain Vanilla Games, was an Icelandic video game developer based in Reykjavík. Founded in October 2010 by Thor Fridriksson, the company is best known for developing the trivia-based mobile game QuizUp, at its peak the fastest-growing iOS game ever.
Foundation and growth (2010–2013)
Plain Vanilla Games was founded on 1 October 2010 by Thor Fridriksson, who would helm the company as chief executive officer. It published its first title The Moogies for pre-schooled aged kids on the App store in November 2011 but although critically acclaimed the game turned out to be a major flop which left Plain Vanilla indebted. Looking for a second product, Þorsteinn had realised that popular games like Words with Friends and Draw Something merely modified already existing analogue games. And while a mobile version of Trivial Pursuit was already on the market, it seemed rudimentary to him, lacking topical range and social interaction.
He went to San Francisco to sell his idea but first ran into a wall of negativity: "It… wasn't easy. I thought I'd just charm my way in front of these VCs, share my big idea for a quiz platform, and they'd throw money my way. Not quite. Just connecting with the right people was a challenge. I'd cold call and ask for meetings, and they'd maybe be willing to set something up for 2, 3 months later. I had to be creative to get in front of these VCs. It maybe even bordered on stalking. In hindsight, maybe it was a bit creepy." In the end he sought out compatriot David Helgason, the CEO of game development company Unity Technologies and with his endorsement received $1.2 million in seed funding. In 2012, he managed to convince an affiliate of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) to partner with Plain Vanilla on a trial trivia game for the Twilight series. The game, released in November 2012, was a hit with about 2 million registered users who gave the company valuable feedback. Sequoia Capital started backing them as investors and Plain Vanilla added their partner Roelof Botha to its board, just like Ellie Wheeler of Greycroft Partners, Chinese holding company Tencent also became a strategic partner. The QuizUp app was launched in November 2013 for iPhones.
Dissolution and acquisition (2016)
On 31 August 2016, the company closed its Iceland headquarters, letting go all staff, though stating that they would continue to maintain QuizUp for a further three months. Plain Vanilla Games and QuizUp were acquired by Glu Mobile on 19 December 2016, the deal valued at US$7.5 million, including forgiven debt.
- Lawler, Ryan (6 February 2014). "After Reaching 10 Million Users On The iPhone, QuizUp Launches A Big And Beautiful iPad App". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Bushey, Ryan (11 December 2013). "How To Play The Fastest-Growing iPhone Game Of All Time". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- "Plain Vanilla". Crunchbase. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Kumparak, Greg (9 April 2013). "Plain Vanilla Scores $2.4M Series A To Turn Its Multiplayer Quiz Games Into Something More". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Fontaine, Paul (31 August 2016). "Plain Vanilla Shutters Its Doors In Iceland, Fires All Its Staff". The Reykjavík Grapevine. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
- Kolodny, Lora (23 December 2016). "Glu Mobile acquires QuizUp in deal valued at $7.5 million". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 June 2018.