Plarium co-founder’s WhaleApp startup has raised $50 million and made $80m

Ilya Turpiashvili founded the company after selling Plarium to Aristocrat Leisure

Plarium co-founder’s WhaleApp startup has raised $50 million and made $80m

WhaleApp, Plarium co-founder Ilya Turpiashvili’s newest company, has raised an estimated $50m in investment and made $80m in revenue since it was created in 2018, a new interview with Israeli tech outlet Calcalist Tech has revealed.

Plarium was sold to Aristocrat Leisure, the Australian company mainly specialising in online casino titles for a whopping $500m in 2017. Turpiashvili, who had co-founded Plarium alongside his brother Haim, and two other brothers, Avi and Gabi Shalel, would then found WhaleApp a year later. Now the studio has seen successful fundraising as well as revenue to the tune of $80m. The studio has a number of titles successfully published, including Family Zoo which was developed by Whaleapp and marketed by their predecessor Plarium.

Speaking Calcalist Tech, Turpiashvili said, "When we sold Plarium, I knew that gaming was my true passion. A year after leaving Plarium, I established the new company. I wanted to build a successful mobile game company. Mobile is now the primary platform. I aimed to assemble a strong team without poaching employees from Plarium. I could have done so, but I chose not to disrupt their work."

A whale of a tale

Like many companies in the past few years, WhaleApp has had its fair share of challenges too, most notably the Ukraine conflict and its effects on their workforce. Although WhaleApp is Israeli the majority of their employees worked remotely from Ukraine, but after the outbreak of the conflict with Russia, many of them had to relocate around the globe. It’s a challenge faced by other companies including those who departed from Russia in the wake of the outbreak of the war, such as Azur Games.

WhaleApp have also invested heavily in AI, something that Turpiashvili accredits to their attempts to cut costs and maintain long-term stability during a turbulent economic time across the globe. Despite managing to maintain their workforce throughout 2021, it seems that the pressure had grown great enough that, by this year the company has had to downsize, although it wasn’t made clear how many employees they let go.

WhaleApp’s founding and subsequent success is an endorsement of the role that experience plays in finding success within the mobile game industry, and how that ecosystem feeds back into itself. The open spirit of collaboration and family in mobile means that founders are never too far away from putting something back and creating for the common good.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.