NetEase's Tom van Dam on the key things investors are looking for

It's not all about the return

NetEase's Tom van Dam on the key things investors are looking for

At Casual Connect Europe 2016, Tom van Dam, Head of Business Development at NetEase, gave a talk on what it is investors are looking for when investing in mobile games.

And he should know given NetEase is investing heavily in western mobile developers, most recently dropping $2.5 million into Finnish startup Reforged Studios.

He began by talking about why investors are looking at mobile games, pointing to the potential of a large return on the investment as an attractive part of investing.

But, he also pointed out that investors want to invest in companies that have passion for the development of their game, and are not just looking to make money.

Make something new

He warned that pitching your game as a rival to market leader means that you are "doomed to fail", and advised against narrowing your target audience and not implementing monetisation early.

"The market is saturated with copies," said van Dam, recommending developers develop innovative gameplay instead of simply trying to be like other games.

He then spoke about advertising your team to investors, suggesting that as well as requiring relevant experience, the team needs to be proven to work well together, and haven't just been cobbled together because of their background.

Have a plan in place

We want to know how you envision getting your game to market.
Tom van Dam

This experience needs to be in the right areas as well – investors won't be interested in a team of highly-trained casual game makers pitching a midcore title, for example.

"We want to know how you envision getting your game to market," said van Dam, adding that you need to have a good marketing strategy already in place, as well as a clear post-launch plan.

He also said that you need to have a timeline for development in place, and make sure that all of your team are capable of showing investors how they contribute to the company.


Ric is the Editor of, having started out as a Staff Writer on the site back in 2015. He received an honourable mention in both the MCV and Develop 30 Under 30 lists in 2016 and refuses to let anyone forget about it.


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