Sanlo (www.sanlo.io) is a fintech company that enables game and app developers to scale by providing them with financial tools, technology and insights, as well as transparent financing with no ownership (in contrast to VCs), and creative dilution (in contrast to publishers).
Co-founded in San Francisco by Olya Caliujnaia (CEO) and William Liu (CTO), Sanlo, which recently expanded its pool of capital to $200M, has been building a full suite of fintech tools that help game and app developers identify when it’s time to scale, which parts of the business they should be investing in, and how much capital is needed. The company has an ambitious roadmap as it reimagines the financial products that empower developers around the world, with the delivery of speedy and frictionless access to capital the company’s first product.
35% of the world’s population plays games, with the gaming market set to double in value by 2028 to $435 billion, while the number of apps downloaded is also expected to increase annually from over 100 billion in 2021 to 200 billion in 2025. Despite this meteoric growth, game and app creators lack access to financial products specifically catered to their needs, and subsequently struggle to raise the financing required.
Personalized Growth Capital Based on Data
Sanlo works with developers small and large, and provides access to financial technology, tools and insights. If Sanlo’s data-driven analysis concludes that a company’s progress and growth can be accelerated with additional financing, it will generate tailored growth capital offers based on multiple metrics – including company’s financials and their products’ performance – and provide capital within 72 hours.
More than just a source of capital, Sanlo has been building out a financial dashboard to enable companies to see when they will receive capital, monitor cash flow, and track upcoming payments by platform. Its predictive algorithms continually monitor trajectory, with insights shared on how growth can be achieved.
Non-Dilutive Financing and Transparent Repayments
Sanlo represents a transparent, developer-centric complementary or alternative to VC, publisher, and bank financing, and is by far the largest source of non-dilutive capital available for game and app developer businesses. Sanlo doesn’t take any ownership of the companies that it supports, nor does it influence strategic and creative decision-making, meaning that its customers can remain creatively and financially independent without spending time and money on complex debt instruments.
Sanlo takes a one-time flat fee, with companies choosing to make repayments based on revenue increasing or decreasing, or a fixed-term repayments plan with a predetermined payment schedule not based on revenue.
With a team of 15 across the United States and Argentina, spanning seven nationalities and comprised of passionate gamers, Sanlo has raised $13.5M to-date, including a recent $10M Series A round led by Konvoy. The funds are being used to onboard developers, partner with new developer tools and platforms, and further build financial products that help developers retain more capital and consolidate growth.
The Founders: With Roots in Gaming and Fintech
Caliujnaia and Liu both have extensive experience as builders and operators within fintech and gaming, rather than having financial backgrounds, and this is key to what they’re building at Sanlo. Having worked at EA (where Caliujnaia was a Product Manager) and Sony Playstation (where Liu was a Lead Engineer) both have a shared understanding of the inner workings of growing games, while their experience in lending and wealth management fintech has provided them with unrivalled learnings of how convoluted and complex financial products can be.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be a developer, and we want to make gaming and app creation as easy and scalable as possible”, comments Olya Caliujnaia, Sanlo CEO and Co-founder. “However, it can be extremely difficult for developers to receive the type of financing that they need, without having to lose ownership of their company. As a result of the current macroeconomic climate, there is going to be a decline in consumer spending. This means that it’s more important than ever before for developers to be fiscally disciplined, but also to be able to access timely capital. This is where we come in, but we represent more than just financing, and there are parallels with Stripe, Square, Shopify, but for developers.
“We are a startup rather than a fund, and our extensive experience in gaming and fintech means that we understand what the next generation of developers need, and we can move quickly to deliver that. By not taking equity or creative ownership, we are supporting the autonomy and creative control of independent developers.”