Nikki Assavathorn, Infinity Levels

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Meet Nikki Assavathorn, the straight-talking, no-nonsense founder and CEO of Infinity Levels, a mobile game development studio that creates 3D games, such as Ranch Run and Blades of Revenge. Starting with a dating agency for Thai professionals ten years ago, she jumped on the growing trend for dating apps and swiftly transitioned to games when she realized this offered a much more lucrative market. The mobile gaming industry generated revenues of over $30 billion in 2015. These are her reflections on her journey and how she got to where she is now.
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“Ten years ago I set up a professional dating company called MeetnLunch. Back then there were not any Thai dating agencies providing to the needs of local professionals. About 3 years ago I saw a trend coming with the dating app and I commissioned an app called Available. I then realized that games represents a much bigger market in Southeast Asia as well as globally. 90% of what makes money on the Apple store is games, not applications. So I put together a team of developers, people with experience making games and 2 years ago I founded Infinity Levels. I sold MeetnLunch to Singaporean dating company Lunch Actually Group because I wanted to fully focus on Infinity Levels but I am still involved in MeetnLunch and still help out on strategy and planning. My goal to have a company that I can take to the stock market.”
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  • “Most people play games on mobile phones so games need to be short and easy to play. And to make sure that people are spending money we work with local payment providers to make payment quick and easy. The big challenge is to make sure that the products fit the market and perform well. We have a process in place so that we only work on games that have a high chance of being successful. This requires a lot of research. It’s about studying what’s selling well and seeing if we can improve it. And getting a lot of feedback from users and potential users. Just doing the same thing that others are already doing is not going to work out because they are always going to be ahead of us. We need to make games that are better than what people are seeing on the grossing charts.”
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  • “The biggest challenge is probably finding the right people to work with you. If you find great developers, you are set but it’s not always the case and finding the first people that want to build the company with you is very tough. You need to inspire them and get them to believe in your vision and wanting to be part of it. And because I was not a tech person it was difficult to determine the technical ability of new hires, what people can actually do. Once you find the right people, they can help you screen others and they are happy to do that because they want to keep the company standards high. One of the hardest things I had to do was to let go people that I thought had great personalities but the programming was not at the level that people expected.”
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“My job is to raise funds to make sure that we have enough cash to launch our products. Those are things that I am good at so I focus on those and leave the rest to people that do that better than me. Not being the smartest person in the room is an accomplishment for me. That’s when you know you are in good hands.”
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“The best advice I have ever received is to not do everything yourself. Even if you can do it better than others, you are not going to be able to grow if you keep doing it all yourself. You have to delegate some tasks. But make sure you delegate to people that have the right knowledge and that you monitor their work regularly to ensure it’s up to standard.”
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“One of the mistakes that I kept making was to launch products too early. If the product is not ready, it can crash and not monetize so well so over the years I realized that I needed to slow down, test more, and make sure that the programming is really solid and can handle a lot of users before marketing the product. It happened to me again and again because I just want to go for it but we are better at it now.”
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  • “In most families people still expect women to play the main role in raising children. If you are a mother and want to have your own business, you need to be aware of the long hours and the sacrifices it requires, be clear about your goals and communicate it clearly with your family.”

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