#WeArePlay

Celebrating the global community of people building apps and games businesses on Google Play. Teams of all sizes - founded by coders since childhood or tech newbies, based in busy cities and smaller towns.

Discover their stories and how they are improving lives, locally and around the world.

Stay tuned for more stories coming soon.

Kelly Lilles,

Mikk Lilles,

Reimo Meier

and Madde Rebane

ALPA Kids

Tallinn, Estonia

452,500+

7


Kelly loves studying languages, and Mikk is into tech. While living abroad, they wanted to find a way to keep their sons connected to their Estonian heritage. They combined their passions, and along with relatives Madde and Reimo, created ALPA Kids - a mobile language game for Estonian children. After achieving several awards, they've now expanded to include the languages of Ukraine and India, with the ultimate goal of including as many languages as possible. They have also recently received funds to invest in artificial intelligence, to develop customised games based on each child's individual skills and ability.

“Our games are used by families, schools and preschools. It has had a huge impact for language preservation and language learning in early childhood education”

Vladimir Koščica,

Tomislav Podhraški

and Boris Barbir

Pine Studio

Samobor, Croatia

531,800+

17


In college, friends Vladimir, Boris and Tomislav had a dream to one day own a games studio. Fast-forward 10 years and they're now the proud founders of Pine Studio. Their game, Cats in Time – a puzzle where players need to find and save cats – was the first title they independently published. For every 100,000 cats saved in the game, 10kg of cat food is donated to shelters in Zagreb. They took part in Google Play's Indie Games Accelerator in 2021. Next, they plan to release more levels and a new game, Escape Simulator.

“We won the Indie Games Festival and it brought more players to the game. Google Play is our most popular platform”

Aldo Mujica and

Sandro de la Riva Aguero

Dark Dome

Lima, Peru

7,580,000+

3


When Aldo visited an escape room in Lima, he was so impressed with the design that he wanted to work with the owner, Sandro, to bring escape rooms to the virtual world. They joined forces to create The Girl in the Window, followed by other thrilling and chilling games. The stories take place in Hidden Town, with plot twists and jump scares to complement Sandro’s macabre artwork. The studio, Dark Dome, fulfills their wish to combine games with storytelling and art. Looking forward, the duo have more games in the works and are fine-tuning their processes to release sequels even quicker.

“Google Play is excellent for any developer, big or small. It’s easy to start from zero. It's a great opportunity for indie developers to build their dreams”

Annabel Angwenyi

and Patrick Ngugi

Ziada

Nairobi, Kenya

59,700+

11


It was a broken-down car which led to entrepreneurs Annabel and Patrick’s lightbulb moment. Stuck on the roadside in Nairobi, they couldn’t find a mechanic to fix their car quickly. They realised people need an easy way to find local businesses and trusted service providers. So, despite having no tech background, they created their app Ziada. Their on-demand service marketplace is growing in downloads - and with a predominantly female workforce offering mentorship to young women - they're taking the Kenyan gig economy by storm.

“Our most popular category, household, is led by women. That makes us really happy. There is an expression in Kenya that when you empower a woman, you empower the whole community”

George Parkinson

Droplist

Bristol, UK

957,000+

1


A fan of sneakers and streetwear, George would constantly search online for new limited editions. He decided at the age of just 16 to teach himself to code and launch Droplist. The app shows all upcoming special collections from major labels – plus where and how to get them. George spent hours in his bedroom working on the app without telling anyone, until his parents asked where his money was coming from. George now works directly with brands, has added a new restock alert feature, and built a community of people passionate about streetwear.

“The reviews are very useful. And it's also broken down with daily ratings as well – with the stars. It’s easy to see the data you want to see”

Robert Savage

Bluebird Languages

Jackson, Wyoming

1,245,000+

1


With years of experience in academic online language-learning, Robert entered the consumer market in 2020 with his company Bluebird Languages. A former teacher, he understands how to structure a lesson, and his interval–recall and pronunciation methods help to simulate traditional classes. Spanning 164 languages, from Hungarian to Haitian Creole, Bluebird apps offer over 6 million hours of audio lessons featuring native speakers. Robert has recently added features such as quizzes and voice analysis, and continues to keep the company small and personal despite its huge reach.

“Google Play was the go-to place for the app in terms of reaching a large, international audience. Android devices are everywhere, so you can reach all these different countries in all these different languages”

Keerti Singh

and Kashyap Reddy

Hitwicket Cricket Games

Hyderabad, India

4,400,000+

52


Keerti has loved cricket since she was a kid. And while studying for her MBA, she played mobile games as a way to relax and free her mind. It was during college when Keerti met her now husband and co-founder, Kashyap. They used their life savings to combine Keerti's passions and build Hitwicket Cricket Games in 2015, when the mobile gaming industry was just beginning to boom in India. Their games offer immersive experiences, enjoyed by fans worldwide. Next, the company plans to launch Hitwicket World Cup, a mobile esports cricket competition.

“We participated in the Indies Games Accelerator Program and learned a lot from it. The Google Play team help us to interact and engage with people who play our games”

Arnaud Megret

Elokence

Chartres, France

260,000,000+

12


Arnaud is a computer scientist with a passion for artificial intelligence (AI). He originally created Akinator as a side project to experiment with AI tools. Now, it's his company's (Elokence) most popular game - featuring a genius who 'reads people's minds' and accurately guesses the name of a celebrity, character or historical figure. Launching only in French, it's now available in 16 languages. Arnaud believes the popularity of the game is due to audience collaboration, as users can add their own data. The company is now working on an app that will recommend movies based on people's answers and preferences.

“Akinator was a personal project. I was not aiming to change my job for this, but it became a huge success”

Daigo Sato

Odencat

Tokyo, Japan

3,200,000+

1


Daigo has always loved to play Japanese RPG (role-playing games), and considers himself a mix of software engineer, artist and storyteller. He worked for several game studios but couldn’t creatively express himself. When he felt it was time to make his own games, he started his indie company. Odencat builds pixel art games that bring an emotional, immersive experience as Daigo personally writes many of the rich storylines. He has won three Google Play Indie Games Festival awards.

“I receive lots of reviews from players. They say it's the first time they actually cried playing a mobile game. I'm very proud of it”

Melissa Halliburton

BringFido

Greenville

173,000+

40


Whenever Melissa wanted to travel with her dog Rocco, she struggled to find hotels that would accept him. She had to call round each one to ask about their pet policy. Once, she almost missed a friend’s wedding when she and Rocco were not welcomed at a nearby hotel – and had to stay an hour away from the venue. That day, Melissa decided to create a pet-friendly travel database, which later became BringFido. The app lists pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and dog parks, with over half a million approved venues around the world.

“We are on a mission to make the world a pet-friendly place. Google Play has helped us with our global reach, and it is exciting to watch the number of people using the app grow”

Ronaldo Tenório

Carlos Wanderlan

and Thadeu Luz

Hand Talk

Maceió, Brazil

4,054,600+

87


Hand Talk Translator began in 2012 as a university project for Ronaldo. He teamed up with Carlos, who was learning app development, and Thadeu, a 3D animator. Together they created the winning prototype for a start-up contest. Eventually, it became an app where people can type or speak a sentence and Hugo – a friendly animated character – signs it back in American or Brazilian sign language. Among other accolades, it was elected World’s Best Social App by the UN. Next, the team are working on a model that recognizes sign language via a phone’s camera.

“We’ve had emails from bus drivers saying they wanted to say hello to the deaf children they picked up on the way to school every day. We’ve had doctors that learned to sign to their patients.”

Ina Wortmann

and Jonas Lüthke

Ori App Studio

Berlin, Germany

513,300+

2


Couple Ina and Jonas met at university - both have computer science backgrounds and love to travel. In 2016, while planning a 6-month trip through Southeast Asia, they needed a way to make their money last but couldn’t find the right tool to help. So, as Jonas had experience in developing apps, they decided to create TravelSpend. It helps people travel on a budget by tracking expenses, sharing and syncing budgets, and showing spend in local currencies automatically converted. Their passion for exploring also inspired them to launch Roadie, a route planner app for campers and roadtrippers.

“When people see that someone’s traveling through Mexico and only spending 500 Euros for a month, they’re inspired to go travelling themselves.”

Zuzanna Stanska

DailyArt

Warsaw, Poland

1,500,000+

7


Zuzanna is an art historian who truly believes art can lighten up anyone’s day. Ten years ago, she worked for startups and found herself surrounded by coders and app designers. Inspired by their work and passion, Zuzanna had the idea to create DailyArt. The app shows people a masterpiece each morning, accompanied by a bite-sized story. She wants to make art accessible and enticing for everyone, and it’s now available in 21 languages. Zuzanna is planning a 10th anniversary redesign - plus two new features: Spotlight, showing collections around a theme, and City Guides to accompany people traveling.

“The A/B testing in Google Play is super cool and very useful. Also, the translation and localization – that was very valuable.”

Alyssa Awuah

and Yvonne Ottley-Awuah

Frobelles

London, UK

38,400+

2


At age six, Alyssa loved playing mobile dress-up games but struggled to find characters that looked like her. Her mum, Yvonne, wanted Alyssa to embrace her natural look with confidence and, despite not having any prior experience creating games, suggested they create their own. Frobelles is a game to style the hair, clothes and accessories of three sisters – Coco, Kelli and Krista – and swap finished looks on social media. It celebrates hair styles from their African and Caribbean heritage, like up-dos, locs and protective twists. Alyssa is now 10 and has many new ideas. Next, they’re planning an Afro-anime collection and adding boy characters.

“People who think I am too young to have created things like this, well, I would say that’s kind of their opinion. In my eyes, anything is possible”