Bangalore-based MadRat Games Pvt Ltd, a self-funded gaming startup operating for nearly three years, is now foraying into the B2C space by approaching toy retailers and launching its apps for iPad and Android platforms.
MadRat entered the market with its flagship product Aksharit, a scrabble game in Hindi, but now it is offering games in several vernacular languages like Bengali, Punjabi and Telugu, and also in English. According to the company, Aksharit is now used by as many as 24,000 schools in Chhattisgarh to make Hindi learning easy for kids. Besides the physical format, MadRat games are both PC and mobile compatible, and certain games are available on all touchscreen phones from Nokia. Last year, Nokia launched one of its models with the MadRat games pre-installed in half-a-million handsets. It was also one of the six partners when Google launched its Chrome web store last year and you can find its language games there for free.
The company was set up in 2009 by three IITians â€“ Manuj Dhariwal, Rajat Dhariwal and Madhumita Haldar â€“ who are now looking at moving to the next level. "Tablets are hot at this point of time. Everybody has one or wants to own one â€“ so that's the format we are working on. In fact, our iPad app should be out very soon. Next on target is an app for the Android platform," said co-founder Rajat Dhariwal.
MadRat is also in the final stages of raising the first round of institutional funding. Although Rajat Dhariwal declined to provide more details, he added that the entire amount would be utilised to set up recurring income channels. "Working with the state governments is fine, but it's not a sustainable revenue model. We are now looking to generate a steady income through multiple channels," he said. According to him, the company generated around Rs 1.1 crore in revenues in the past three years.
"What's more, we will soon introduce new products. MadRat will launch Facebook games as well and generate revenues via ads. We also hope to sell our games through popular e-shops," detailed Dhariwal.
Ask him about competition and he would point out that vernacular games are quite unique in the Indian context and no other company has come up with a Hindi language game yet (we have heard of Thiruthamizh, though, a vernacular game that will help all those who have trouble learning Tamil). Also, MadRat would always stick to its business motto â€“ fun learning through games. "We look at each game from a child's point of view, who wants to play, and also from the perspective of a parent/teacher who wants the kid to learn something useful. And we will always ensure that our products live up to that promise," said Dhariwal.