Author Archives: Patricia Correa

How Annabel turned her app idea into a growing business

One day, Annabel Angwenyi was running errands in Nairobi, Kenya when her car refused to start. She called her usual mechanic, but he was busy helping another customer on the opposite side of town. She knew there must be another mechanic close by, but because many local businesses don’t have an online presence, she had trouble finding and contacting someone else. Annabel was frustrated — but she also saw an opportunity to solve a problem.

After a lot of research, hard work and perseverance, she and her co-founder Patrick launched Ziada, an app that connects people across Kenya to local service providers. Today, Ziada has a team of seven people and over 60,000 downloads on Google Play.

Annabel is one of the founders featured in #WeArePlay, which spotlights the people behind Google Play’s apps and games. We chatted with Annabel to learn more about how she got Ziada up and running with no tech experience, and the impact it’s had on the local community.

How did you turn your idea into an app?

Patrick and I didn’t have any tech experience — we’re both business people. So in 2017, we partnered with a software developer who believed in our dream and helped us create the app. After a lot of hard work, we published the first version of Ziada on Google Play that same year. But it didn’t really take off. We weren’t sure if the Kenyan market was ready for something like this, so we took a break.

Then when the pandemic started in 2020, we noticed people wanted to access more things on demand and online, like food delivery and taxi services. So we rebranded the app, including improving the user interface to better reflect how we could help, and launched again. Now, our app has over 60,000 downloads on Google Play and is helping service providers across Kenya find new customers.

A person wearing a yellow short-sleeved shirt smiles and holds a phone showing the Ziada logo on the screen.

What impact has your app had on the community?

Kenya is an entrepreneurial nation, with people just like us wanting to build something for themselves. Having owned small businesses in the past, we knew the app had potential to help others grow their businesses. And it makes us so happy to see this actually happening. I’m also really proud of how we’re helping women — who make up 38% of service providers on Ziada — create their own income. I believe when you empower women, you empower the whole community. It’s something that’s really close to our hearts at Ziada. Most of our team are women, and many of us mentor young girls in the community. In fact, two of our mentees are joining Ziada as software developers.

A group of seven people sitting around a table, smiling and working on laptops.

Any advice for someone starting their own app or game business?

Just jump in. I think that initial leap of faith is the hardest one to make — it definitely was for me. The app or game will never be 100% perfect, and if you wait for that moment, the train may have already left (both in terms of user needs and market share).

If you have a working prototype or early version of your app, get it on Google Play and build hype around it. I was surprised at how patient our users were with Ziada in its early days, even with all its shortcomings. But that’s because they wanted it to work. If you’re providing a good solution to a problem, the adopters will come.

What’s next for Ziada?

We’re always working on new services, like helping contractors rent equipment and tools to complete jobs or providing coaching through our upcoming business advisory service. We also want to keep partnering with growing, local businesses and expand our user base — not just in Kenya, but across the African continent. There’s so much potential here, and we’re only just getting started.

Read more about Annabel and other app and game founders featured in #WeArePlay.

3 things to look forward to at the Google Play Indie Games Festival

Indie game developers make fun and creative games on Google Play that millions of people enjoy.

On September 3rd 2022, we’ll be hosting the annual Indie Games Festival from Google Play to celebrate unique games launched this year and showcase the inspiring emerging talent behind these titles. The event will take place online as a virtual event to bring gamers, developers and industry experts together.

The annual Indie Games Festival gives small game developers from South Korea, Japan and select countries in Europe, a platform to connect with indie fans and share their new releases.

Here are three things to look forward to at this year’s event.

Celebrate indie games wherever you are on September 3

No matter where you are in the world, you can attend the Indie Games Festival finals in South Korea, Japan or Europe. All you need to do is sign up for one of the events, and you will be set to explore and meet people from all over the world who also enjoy playing indie games.

Colorful illustration of teleportation at the virtual event

Discover top-tier indie games from around the world

Earlier this year, small indie teams and solo-devs submitted their games for a chance to be showcased at the Festival. Dive into our tropical-themed Festival and start exploring the games showcase, a dedicated zone where you can discover the best new games at each booth.

A gif rotating the icons of the finalist games from Europe, Japan and South Korea

This is your chance to check out the 20 finalist games from each of the three regions and meet the people who made them. You’ll also be the first to hear who the winners are and other big announcements on the main stage.

Be on the lookout for special quests, minigames and fun challenges that you can play solo or with friends.

Help our hosts cheer on the winners

At each event, hosts will guide you through the awards ceremony and keep you entertained. Cheer on the finalists at the main stage with games commentator Inho Jung, who will be the host in South Korea; comedian and Youtuber Kajisak-san, who will present the finals in Japan for the second year running; and games presenter Julia Hardy, who will host the European event and give a few special announcements.

At the European Festival, you’ll also discover which indies will join the 2022 class of the Indie Games Accelerator — a program that helps small game studios take their game to the next level through training and mentorship.

Sign up now to attend the finals in Europe, Japan or South Korea.

Visit here to learn more about Google Play's programs for indie games and follow @GooglePlaybiz.

Hear from app and game founders in #WeArePlay USA

Last week, we launched #WeArePlay, a new series featuring the people behind your favorite Google Play apps and games. To celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, we’re putting a special spotlight on app founders and developers across every U.S. state. #WeArePlay USA introduces you to the passionate professionals behind more than 150 growing businesses.

A gif of a collage of headshots that turns into the shape of a U.S. map. The gif ends with the text “#WeArePlay” and the URL g.co/play/weareplay-usa

Let’s take a quick road trip across the #WeArePlay USA collection, starting in the Big Apple. New Yorker Tanya was so inspired when her eight-year-old daughter asked to open an investment account that she created Goalsetter — an app that helps kids learn about finance through fun activities. She wants to help kids, and their parents, build stronger financial futures: “Part of my mission is to close the wealth gap in America by educating the next generation.” Read more stories from New York.

A graphic featuring a photo of Tanya with her kids, her name, her location of “New York, New York,” the name of her app “Goalsetter” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our next stop is Raleigh, North Carolina to meet Joe, John and Grant. They created JouleBug to help people better understand their environmental impact through interactive challenges — like competing with friends to save the most energy or reduce the most waste. “As we go through our days, it’s become easy to waste resources and not even notice it,” says Grant. “We want to draw attention to this and show how simple it is to change your habits.” Discover more stories from North Carolina.

A graphic featuring a photo of Joe, John and Grant on a mountain, their names, their location of “Raleigh, North Carolina” the name of their app “Joulebug” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Making our way west, we meet Clarence and Edna in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They both share a passion for education and worked together to create Boddle — a 3D game that motivates kids to learn math. Using AI, Boddle also helps parents and teachers tailor learning content and track performance. Check out more stories from Oklahoma.

A graphic featuring a photo of Clarence and Edna, their names, their location of “Tulsa, Oklahoma” the name of their app “Boddle Learning” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our final stop brings us to Santa Monica, California with Jenova. While he was in film school, Jenova asked himself — could a game make you cry the same way a movie can? He launched thatgamecompany and started building games that tug at players’ heartstrings. His company now has close to 100 employees. Read more stories from California.

A graphic featuring a photo of Jenova, his name, his location of “Santa Monica, California” the name of his app “thatgamecompany” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Explore the rest of the #WeArePlay USA collection, and stay tuned for more stories from around the world.

#WeArePlay: Meet the people behind your apps and games

Every month, over 2.5 billion people visit Google Play to discover millions of apps and games. Behind each of these apps is an entrepreneur (or two… or three) with a unique story to tell. Some have been programming since childhood, others just learned how to code. Some live in busy cities, others in smaller towns. No matter how different their backgrounds are, these creators all have one thing in common — the passion to turn an idea into a growing business.

#WeArePlay celebrates and shares their stories. Over the next few months, you’ll hear from the people and businesses behind Google Play apps and games, and how they’re making an impact around the world.

Our series kicks off spotlighting Yvonne and Alyssa, the London-based mother and daughter duo who created Frobelles — a dress-up game that helps increase representation of African and Caribbean hair styles in the game industry.

You’ll also meet Hand Talk Translator’s Ronaldo, Carlos and Theadeu from Brazil, DailyArt’s Zuzanna from Poland, and TravelSpend’s world-trotting couple Ina and Jonas from Germany.

Gif swipes between photos of Ronaldo, Carlos and Thadeu, Zuzanna, and Ina and Jonas with their respective app names and the #WeArePlay logo.

A big thank you to all the apps and games businesses that are part of our Google Play community. Dive into some of their stories today and stay tuned for more.

Check out the highlights from the Indie Games Festival

Every year Google Play, hosts the Indie Games Festival, a competition that rewards high quality indie games with promotional opportunities and supports small mobile games developers. We also host the Indie Games Accelerator, an educational and mentorship program to help high potential studios grow their business. 

Last weekend, some of the best indie game creators from Europe, South Korea and Japan, as well as players from around the world, got together at the Festival’s finals. At this interactive virtual event, players had the chance to discover these creative games, meet the people who made them and had a lot of fun exploring, collecting swag and cheering on their favorites. 

We also revealed the Top 10 finalists and Festival winners in each region, as well as the studios  selected to join the Indie Games Accelerator class of 2021.

Without further ado, here are the winners!

Indie Games Festival Winners 

Europe

Indie Games Festival - Winners | Europe. The 3 winning games have a graphic from their game featured on this banner. Blobby is seen with a party popper that is shooting out paper streamers in celebration of the winners.

Bird Alone by George Batchelor, United Kingdom
Cats in Time by Pine Studio, Croatia
Gumslinger by Itatake, Sweden


Korea

Indie Games Festival - Winners | South Korea. The 3 winning games have a graphic from their game featured on this banner. Blobby is seen with a party popper that is shooting out paper streamers in celebration of the winners.

CATS & SOUP by HIDEA
Rush Hour Rally by Soen Games
The Way Home by CONCODE

Users’ Choice aware: Animal Doll Shop by Funnyeve


Japan

Indie Games Festival - Winners | Japan. The 3 winning games have a graphic from their game featured on this banner. Blobby is seen with a party popper that is shooting out paper streamers in celebration of the winners.

Mousebusters by Odencat
Quantum Transport by ruccho
Survivor's guilt by aso
Student Category Award: Japanese Train Drive Simulator 2 "OneMan2" by HAKOT

Also check out the top 10 finalists in Europe, South Korea and Japan.


Indie Games Accelerator Class of 2021

Americas 

  • Aoca Game Lab, Brazil

  • Berimbau Game Studio, Brazil

  • Boomware Studio, Peru

  • Concrete Software, USA

  • Delotech Games, Brazil

  • DreamCraft Entertainment, Inc., USA

  • Ingames, Argentina

  • Ludare Games Group Inc., Canada

  • Whitethorn Games, USA

Europe, Middle East & Africa

  • Cleverside Ltd, Belarus

  • Dali Games, Poland

  • Firegecko Ltd, United Kingdom

  • Hot Siberians, Russia

  • Infinity Games, Portugal

  • Itatake, Sweden

  • Jimjum Studios, Israel

  • LIVA Interactive, Tunisia 

  • Pale Blue Interactive, South Africa

  • Pine Studio, Croatia

  • Platonic Games, Spain

  • SMOKOKO LTD, Bulgaria

  • Spooky House Studios, Germany

Asia Pacific

  • Banjiha Games, South Korea

  • CATS BY STUDIO, South Korea

  • dc1ab pte. Ltd., Singapore

  • Dreams & Co., Thailand

  • Gamestacy Entertainment, India

  • izzle Inc., South  Korea

  • Limin Development and Investment Joint Stock Company, Vietnam 

  • Mugshot Games Pty Ltd,  Australia

  • Odencat Inc., Japan

  • Playbae, India

  • Xigma Games, India

  • XOGAMES Inc., South Korea

  • YOMI Studio, Vietnam


Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to the selected games and studios. Stay tuned for more updates on @GooglePlayDev.

Cheer on the finalists of our Indie Games Festival

On September 4, we’re celebrating some of the best indie talent on Google Play during the Indie Games Festival finals for Europe, Japan and South Korea. This year the three festivals are virtual, so you can join us to discover the games, meet the developers who created them, cheer them on and be the first to hear who the winners are. 


In June we kicked off the Indie Games Festival – a competition to celebrate the innovation and creativity that indie developers bring to Google Play. We received thousands of submissions, showing our judges how unique and diverse our games developer community is. 


The panel of judges have now selected 20 games in each region – listed below – to go forward to the finals on September 4. Each finalist receives exclusive promotions and prizes that give their games the recognition they deserve. 


So, don’t miss out. Expect plenty of fun and some very special surprises. Sign up now to virtually attend the festivals for Europe, Japan and South Korea. The events are free to attend and will all take place in the same space, so sign up to one and you will be able to teleport to all events!  

Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the Europe competition. All finalist icons are on the banner.

Europe


Beat Workers by NaturalPad Games, France

Bird Alone by George Batchelor, United Kingdom

Cats in Time by Pine Studio, Croatia

Figment by Bedtime Digital Games, Denmark

Froglike: The Frog Roguelike by Jimjum Studios, Israel

Garson by Anastasiya Shabunia, Belarus

Gumslinger by Itatake, Sweden

Lyxo by Emoak, Austria

Psychofunk by Tommy Søreide Kjær, Norway

Railways by Infinity Games, Portugal

Sticky Terms by kamibox, Germany

Sweet Sins Superstars by Platonic Games, Spain

Tiny Robots Recharged by Big Loop Studios, Bulgaria

Tofu Drifter by Roach Games, Russia

Towers by JOX Development, Ukraine

Unholy Adventure by Dali Games, Poland

Warplane Inc by Nuclear Games, Russia

Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown by Ultaan Games, Poland

Woof: The Good Boy Story by CHPV.GAMES, Russia

Zen Symmetry by 8tbl, Russia


Sign up to attend the European finals.
Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the Japan competition. All finalist icons are on the banner.

Japan


3D Chess: NOCCA NOCCA by Curiouspark, Inc.

5colors in Nate by NekodoraSoft

Amabie san by HARAPECORPORATION Inc.

Archer Battle Online by Takuya Fujieda

Cthulhu DreamStairs by Tenyu

ElectriarCode by ELECTRIAR LABO / Blue

Escape from the Closed Circle by Hanachiru

Heart  of Sengoku by ZEN APP

Leaving Two Tiles Dojo by ScreenPocket

Living in the Ending World by illuCalab.

MAKOTO WAKAIDO’s Case Files “Executioner’s Wedge” by HafHaf-Oden (Sukashiuma-LAB)

Mini Mini Farm by CoffeeBreak

MonohakobiPro by CGO

Mousebusters by Odencat

Numpurr Card Wars by Nukenin

Parasite Days by Zxima

Quantum Transport by ruccho

Super Glitter Rush by tiny cactus studio

Survivor's guilt by aso

Wolf Chess by baton inc.


Sign up to attend the Japanese finals.
Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the South Korea competition. All finalist logos are on the banner.

South Korea


Angel Saga by Alchemist Games Inc.

Animal Card Royale by Banjihagames

Animal Doll Shop by Funnyeve

BattleLive: Zombie&Human by PLOTRICK

Box It Up! Inc. by team TAPE

CATS & SOUP by HIDEA

Cats are Cute: Pop Time by kkiruk studio

Detective Mio by 1N1

Dicast: Rules of Chaos by BSS COMPANY

Forest Island by Nanali Studios

Frontier of Fortune by Dotomchi Games Inc.

FUNKYGUNNER by FUNKY5

Group Project Simulator! by Studio806

Gun Tactics by Gimle Games

Hybrid Warrior: Dungeon of the Overlord by Cat Lab

Metro Blossom by The Sane Studio

Portal Dungeon by Oblique Line

Rush Hour Rally by Soen Games

The Way Home by CONCODE

Titan Slayer by Touchholic


Sign up to attend the South Korean finals


PS: Curious to hear who was selected for the Indie Games Accelerator? Attend the European Festival to find out!

Cheer on the finalists of our Indie Games Festival

On September 4, we’re celebrating some of the best indie talent on Google Play during the Indie Games Festival finals for Europe, Japan and South Korea. This year the three festivals are virtual, so you can join us to discover the games, meet the developers who created them, cheer them on and be the first to hear who the winners are. 


In June we kicked off the Indie Games Festival – a competition to celebrate the innovation and creativity that indie developers bring to Google Play. We received thousands of submissions, showing our judges how unique and diverse our games developer community is. 


The panel of judges have now selected 20 games in each region – listed below – to go forward to the finals on September 4. Each finalist receives exclusive promotions and prizes that give their games the recognition they deserve. 


So, don’t miss out. Expect plenty of fun and some very special surprises. Sign up now to virtually attend the festivals for Europe, Japan and South Korea. The events are free to attend and will all take place in the same space, so sign up to one and you will be able to teleport to all events!  

Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the Europe competition. All finalist icons are on the banner.

Europe


Beat Workers by NaturalPad Games, France

Bird Alone by George Batchelor, United Kingdom

Cats in Time by Pine Studio, Croatia

Figment by Bedtime Digital Games, Denmark

Froglike: The Frog Roguelike by Jimjum Studios, Israel

Garson by Anastasiya Shabunia, Belarus

Gumslinger by Itatake, Sweden

Lyxo by Emoak, Austria

Psychofunk by Tommy Søreide Kjær, Norway

Railways by Infinity Games, Portugal

Sticky Terms by kamibox, Germany

Sweet Sins Superstars by Platonic Games, Spain

Tiny Robots Recharged by Big Loop Studios, Bulgaria

Tofu Drifter by Roach Games, Russia

Towers by JOX Development, Ukraine

Unholy Adventure by Dali Games, Poland

Warplane Inc by Nuclear Games, Russia

Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown by Ultaan Games, Poland

Woof: The Good Boy Story by CHPV.GAMES, Russia

Zen Symmetry by 8tbl, Russia


Sign up to attend the European finals.
Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the Japan competition. All finalist icons are on the banner.

Japan


3D Chess: NOCCA NOCCA by Curiouspark, Inc.

5colors in Nate by NekodoraSoft

Amabie san by HARAPECORPORATION Inc.

Archer Battle Online by Takuya Fujieda

Cthulhu DreamStairs by Tenyu

ElectriarCode by ELECTRIAR LABO / Blue

Escape from the Closed Circle by Hanachiru

Heart  of Sengoku by ZEN APP

Leaving Two Tiles Dojo by ScreenPocket

Living in the Ending World by illuCalab.

MAKOTO WAKAIDO’s Case Files “Executioner’s Wedge” by HafHaf-Oden (Sukashiuma-LAB)

Mini Mini Farm by CoffeeBreak

MonohakobiPro by CGO

Mousebusters by Odencat

Numpurr Card Wars by Nukenin

Parasite Days by Zxima

Quantum Transport by ruccho

Super Glitter Rush by tiny cactus studio

Survivor's guilt by aso

Wolf Chess by baton inc.


Sign up to attend the Japanese finals.
Blobby, the Indie Games Festival mascot, is standing up on a stage with a microphone to announce the finalists of the South Korea competition. All finalist logos are on the banner.

South Korea


Angel Saga by Alchemist Games Inc.

Animal Card Royale by Banjihagames

Animal Doll Shop by Funnyeve

BattleLive: Zombie&Human by PLOTRICK

Box It Up! Inc. by team TAPE

CATS & SOUP by HIDEA

Cats are Cute: Pop Time by kkiruk studio

Detective Mio by 1N1

Dicast: Rules of Chaos by BSS COMPANY

Forest Island by Nanali Studios

Frontier of Fortune by Dotomchi Games Inc.

FUNKYGUNNER by FUNKY5

Group Project Simulator! by Studio806

Gun Tactics by Gimle Games

Hybrid Warrior: Dungeon of the Overlord by Cat Lab

Metro Blossom by The Sane Studio

Portal Dungeon by Oblique Line

Rush Hour Rally by Soen Games

The Way Home by CONCODE

Titan Slayer by Touchholic


Sign up to attend the South Korean finals


PS: Curious to hear who was selected for the Indie Games Accelerator? Attend the European Festival to find out!

Grow your indie game with help from Google Play

Today we’re opening applications for the 2021 editions of the Indie Games Accelerator and the Indie Games Festival from Google Play. These programs are designed to support the growth of small games studios that bring unique games to players around the world. 

Get help to develop your game with the Indie Games Accelerator

The Indie Games Accelerator brings the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technology to indie game developers that are full of potential. Selected studios will get free education and mentorship from Google and top industry experts to help them build and grow a successful games company. 

This year the program will be fully digital and is expanding to nearly double the markets, including the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, South Korea and others. 


Promote your existing games with the Indie Games Festival 

The Indie Games Festival celebrates the creativity and innovation of top indie talent. Selected games will be rewarded with promotions on Google Play and dedicated marketing campaigns that will help players worldwide discover the games. 

We will host three competitions for indie game developers from Japan, South Korea and select European countries. 

If you are an indie game developer based in one of the eligible countries, apply for either program by July 1st