Exclusive: Rahul Razdan, President and Head of Chinese social media behemoth Tencent’s India operations, has joined mobile gaming startup Mango Games as CEO. Mango Games, Razdan told MediaNama, has raised money from Social+Capital Partnership, a Venture Capital firm founded by Former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, as well as from MakeMyTrip CEO Deep Kalra, Inmobi Founder Naveen Tewari, who have invested in their individual capacities.
“We are going to create games for the mobile smartphone category, with a strong leg in India, but also international games. Currently, the team has built cloud based multiplayer games. In future, these games would also be on smartphones.” Also at the company is Sanjeev Kumar, who was previously the CTO at Games 24×7, an online gaming firm.
Given that Wechat has recently integrated games within its instant messenger service, we were wondering if there’s going to be an IM component to Mango Games. “At a global level, the social component of the spread of gaming is irrevocably has moved into social instant messaging. A social component of games will be driven by Social IM’s,” Razdan told us.
Mango Games currently has social games like “Social Rummy”, Don Faceoff (based on Mafia Wars) and Mumbai Mobsters. According to its website, Mango Games is producing a proprietary “Social Xperiences” platform, which powers social and multi-player gaming experiences such as turn-based play, asynchronous challenges, tournaments and private friend-clubs.
Razdan had launched Wechat in India for Tencent in 2012. Ibibo was then jointly owned by Naspers and Tencent. Naspers and Tencent decided to go their separate ways in India last year (2013), after Tencent’s option to acquire 50% in Ibibo expired, and Razdan moved, along with the Ibibo Games and Mobile division, to Tencent. He had joined Ibibo in 2006, as a part of the company’s founding team, and in 2009 led the launch of Ibibo’s gaming and mobile business. The buzz around Razdan leaving Tencent has been around fora while.