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Kiwi Raises $15 Million With Hopes of Making Console-Quality Games on Mobile

Easier said than done.

Android-first mobile gaming company Kiwi said today that it had closed a new $15 million round of funding led by Northgate Capital. DFJ and Sequoia Capital also participated.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based studio, best known for the games Westbound and Shipwrecked, is also trying to change itself. In an interview with Re/code, CEO Omar Siddiqui said Kiwi wants to make console-esque “AAA” (industry lingo for big-budget and generally higher-quality) games for mobile devices.

That’s easier said than done. Kiwi’s DNA is in more casual games, with co-founders Siddiqui and Shvetank Jain having worked together at Playdom on the hidden-object game Gardens of Time. Siddiqui said that despite its success, a game like Westbound is not “AAA” in his opinion. The new funding, he added, will let teams focus on producing fewer but deeper character-driven games in a given year.

Kiwi, notably, was also one of the first Western developers to partner with Kakao, one of the messaging apps and gaming hubs that have exploded in Asia but not quite yet in the U.S. Despite the company’s Android focus, Siddiqui expressed interest in the idea of games services that stretch across mobile platforms the way Netflix and Spotify offer identical services, agnostic of platform.

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