If you ever thought about making your own game but always got stuck with implementation, Lithuanian TutoTOONS are here to win your heart. The team has just won the Silicon Valley Comes to Baltics (SV2B) Startup Battle and received a meeting-full trip to Silicon Valley as their prize. Additionally, they were recognized as the best Lithuanian startup and will now represent Lithuania in Get in the ring Eastern European Finals in Sofia and, if successful, advance to the World Finals in Rotterdam during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Formal recognition aside, however, let’s talk about who the people behind TutoTOONS are and what makes their creation so special. TutoTOONS is essentially a well-prepared toolkit that allows anyone to create a mobile game for free. They provide most common game mechanics that you can then adjust to your needs and seamlessly brush up with their standard designs or, most likely, with your own characters, obstacles, background and sound within a simple drag and drop interface.
What separates TutoTOONS from other solutions for game developers is that they do not focus on professional developers. They are aware of the more complex coding features offered by GameSalad and TheBuildBox, not to mention industry heavyweights like Unity, Marmelade and other endless tools well-known among game developers all over the world. TutoTOONS knows about them and does not compete for developer attention – TutoTOONS just strives to allow people with no coding background to make playable games.
‘Essentially, we are a Power Point for making games,’ says TutoTOONS co-founder Mantas Radvila. ‘We give people who can draw an intuitive framework for making their drawings do what they want them to.’
Italian TinyTap is one app that also targets non-technical users. However, they charge users for access to their tool and do not provide assistance in monetizing the outcome. So the key difference from TutoTOONS is that while TinyTap and companies that are focused on professional developers earn money from selling the tool itself, TutoTOONS provides the tool for free and only shares the revenue from the game if it is published. TutoTOONS does not charge you for the fun. Instead, they let you create for free, help you publish your game in App Store, Google Play Store and Amazon App Store, and only after you receive revenue they take a share of it, usually 50%.
Up to date games developed by TutoTOONS have 100,000 active daily users and 1 million monthly downloads. They started with a focus on children games, as this was the area they knew best. Founders have extensive experience in both fun and educational games for children, as they have been operating a dedicated game development studio for 6 years. Their work has sparkled the vision behind TutoTOONS – a world where any teacher or parent can easily make a game for their kids to play and learn.
“Creating a game with TutoTOONS is totally free,” Mantas explains. “Anyone can create a game and play it with friends or family. This is perfect for individual artists, parents or teachers. If you want to publish your game to major App Stores, we will help you get it out and then share the revenue that the game makes. No fees or fine print. It is just as simple as it sounds.”
Asked about the special sauce that has helped TutoTOONS to win two prizes at one shot at SV2B, Mantas does not give away anything special they did. He stresses the usefulness of previous startup experience, clear business case which is already bringing in revenue and the beautiful idea of making creation of games accessible to everyone.
‘We have received good traction from investors, they love the idea and sense its potential. We are currently raising a 1m funding round to grow our team, improve the platform and expand marketing efforts. The geographic focus is still to be decided – currently we have users from countries as diverse as Lithuania, Russia, Spain and Colombia.’
Marija Odineca is passionate about Baltic startup scene, visiting interesting Baltic startups and gathering their stories. She also coordinates the Global Entrepreneurship Week in Latvia.