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Fintech gaming startup Sanlo’s webshop tool could help developers avoid costly app store fees | TechCrunch

Sanlo, a fintech startup that helps gaming companies manage finances, announced Wednesday the closed beta launch of its webshop tool, giving select game developers and studios a plug-in-play solution that works alongside their existing tech stacks. Gaming companies can join the waitlist starting today.

With Google and Apple charging a 30% fee for in-app purchases (IAPs), it’s more challenging than ever for small- to mid-size gaming companies to run profitable businesses. Gaming giant Epic has complained about Apple’s revenue cut for years now, accusing it of being predatory toward smaller businesses.

As a result, many mobile game developers are no longer relying on app stores for monetization and are turning to external webshops, a rising trend in gaming where companies can run stores on their own websites for a much lower fee (around 4-10%). Plus, webshops are believed to boost revenue since players buy directly from the gaming company, as opposed to app stores taking a portion of the sales. In fact, Sanlo said developers can earn up to 25% additional revenue with a webshop.

“A workshop is one of those super tactical steps that actually proved to show that you can implement revenue from,” Sanlo co-founder and CEO Olya Caliujnaia told TechCrunch. “The reason being that it’s usually your most engaged, loyal players who go to the webshop and they get special offers that allow them to do better in the game.”

Image Credits: Sanlo

With Sanlo’s new webshop tool, game developers get a range of promotional mechanics like exclusive digital items, bundle packs, discounted offers, and loyalty programs to incentivize more players to try the game. Developers can also access player data so they can monitor profiles and purchase activity in order to target individual users with compelling offers.

Companies can test and set pricing “with no price caps,” according to Sanlo. Earnings from webshop sales are deposited into the developer’s account once a week.

One downside about webstores is that Apple and Google don’t let mobile games advertise them in-app. Sanlo offers marketing tools as a solution to this issue, such as in-game prompts to promote the webshop, sending emails to returning visitors, and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) attribution tracking.

Sanlo has onboarded an undisclosed number of gaming companies to its webshop platform, including Fusebox Games, the developer behind mobile titles inspired by “Love Island” IP.

“The biggest attraction for me was the plug-and-play nature of the Sanlo tool in addition to the hands-on service they provide,” Terry Lee, COO at Fusebox, told us. “We are a small company without the internal resources to cover all the bases when it comes to supporting a whole new technical capability.”

Sanlo plans to officially launch the new product to all developers this summer.

Caliujnaia and William Liu (CTO) founded Sanlo in 2020. The company’s team touts having previous experience at Sony PlayStation, Electronic Arts, Visa, Facebook, Capital One, Earnest, SigFig, and more.

To date, the company has raised $13.5 million in total funding, and is backed by Initial Capital, Portage Ventures, XYZ Venture Capital, London Venture Partners, Index Ventures, and Konvoy.

Webstore solutions have existed for years now, from more established companies like Xsolla to newer entrants like Appcharge. Popular games leveraging webshops include Clash of Clans, Marvel Strike Force, Game of Thrones: Conquest, and Star Trek Fleet Command.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Langdock raises $3M with General Catalyst to help companies avoid vendor lock-in with LLMs | TechCrunch

Plenty of large corporations want to join the AI revolution, but many feel it’s too early to be locked into one foundational model. That means there’s a market for a layer between companies and Large Language Models (LLMs) — something companies can use to pick LLMs easily without needing to commit for all time to one platform.

That’s the market Langdock is targeting with its chat interface that sits between LLMs and a company. Based out of Germany, the startup has recently raised a $3 million seed round led by General Catalyst, and its European seed-stage partner, La Famiglia.

“Companies don’t want to have a vendor lock-in on just one of those LLM providers,” Lennard Schmidt, co-founder and CEO of Langdock, told TechCrunch. “So we’ve kind of abstracted that away in an interface that allows a company to choose which of the underlying models from different vendors can be used by employees.”

Langdock’s chat interface lets companies tap foundational models, open source models, or host their own models and make that accessible, Schmidt said.

The funding round also saw participation from Y Combinator and some noted German founders, including Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Hanno Renner (Personio), Johannes Reck (GetYourGuide), and Erik Muttersbach (Forto), along with around 25 other angel investors.

In particular, there is a European play here: Langdock is “going heavy” into the idea that companies in the EU will want to safely and securely integrate LLMs in a manner that’s compliant with regulation.

That means employees can operate in a slightly more closed environment, enabling them to create, for instance, prompt libraries, use more than one LLM, and add sensitive documents.

In addition to the chat interface, the company also offers security, cloud and on-premises solutions.

Langdock claims to have a number of customers including Merck, GetYourGuide, HeyJobs, and Forto. Merck has rolled out the startup’s interface to its 63,000 employees. Walid Mehanna, chief data and AI officer at Merck, said in a statement: “We are early adopters of GenAI and see a paradigm shift in how technology can enable our employees to become more effective and efficient in their daily work life.”

Langdock is not the only company to tackle this space.

Dust, based out of Paris, has raised €5 million to date and is backed by Sequoia. The company is building an interface that companies can use to leverage LLMs for various use cases like customer service, internal reports, research, and more. In contrast, Langdock’s chat interface works for a broader range of use cases and can be used by any kind of staff.

Software Development in Sri Lanka