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Tamatem, the leading mobile games publisher in MENA market, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Wamda Capital, with participation from Discovery Nusantara Capital, Raed Ventures, Vision Venture Capital, and Seed Equity Venture Partners.

The startup is backed by 500 Startups and is creating localized versions of popular games. Hussam Hammo, Founder, and CEO of Tamatem said: “Arabic is the fourth most spoken language, and almost no content is available in the app stores. I knocked on the doors of every investor I dealt with in the region, but their response was: your previous company failed, you will most probably fail again. I was a single founder and I had no team. I just had a couple of prototypes and an investment deck. I applied to 500 Startups, and they believed in me”.

According to him, there is a huge gap in MENA’s mobile gaming market and users usually prefer localized mobile games. This doesn’t mean translating the written parts of the game though, as it requires creative adjustments to the story, in order to make it more relatable to the Arabic speaking countries.

For instance, Tamatem localized the racing game Shake the Metal for the MENA market, by changing graphical elements and the soundtrack. This in return led to 5 million downloads.

“When users worldwide think about this type of game, they will think about driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis. In the Middle East, users are interested in driving the Toyota Camry or the Hilux. Music was also a big win in our case, instead of using soundtracks, which a lot of the Saudi Arabia audience will consider religiously forbidden, we used a specific type of music that uses body sounds rather than instruments,” stated Hammo.

Tamatem will now use the new funding to close deals with international game developers and capture a bigger market share in MENA.