We currently had the chance to interview Jens Begemann, the founder and CEO of wooga. The social games company was founded in January 2009 and is based in Berlin.With games like Brain Buddies, Bubble Island, Monster World and Happy Hospital the young company is already among the top 7 Facebook game developers by number of active users.
EU-Startups.com: When have you or your partner had the idea for Wooga and what made you sure it was the right one?
Jens Begemann: I was Chief Product Officer at Jamba (aka Jamster; some may remember the Crazy Frog ringtone) and left in summer of 2008 to start a company – but I had no idea what it would be about. I then travelled and talked to a lot of people for ca. 2 months and then decided to do something in casual games for the browser. Within the next few weeks this changed to social games and we formally founded wooga in January 2009.
EU-Startups.com: How did you finance the startup-phase of Wooga?
Jens Begemann: My co-founder and I put our savings into wooga and used that to develop our first game Brain Buddies. As soon as we were ready to launch on Facebook in summer of 2009 we got VC funding.
EU-Startups.com: What were the main stumbling blocks of your first year as an entrepreneur?
Jens Begemann: Finding the best and right people was and still is the most important and most difficult challenge.
EU-Startups.com: Looking back, what would you do differently in the startup-stage?
Jens Begemann: I would have done a farming game as our first title (this was a few months before FarmVille)… 😉 But nobody could have predicted that success. We are very happy with what we achieved: We are now the 7th largest social game company in the world.
EU-Startups.com: What makes Wooga unique or better as other services out there?
Jens Begemann: Our social games are very high quality with great attention to detail and a lot of emotions.
EU-Startups.com: Where do you like to see your business (Wooga) in 3 years?
Jens Begemann: In 10-20 years we want to be one of the top 3 game companies in the world. In 3 years we plan to be among the top 2 in social games.
EU-Startups.com: What would you do for a living, if you had not started a business?
Jens Begemann: I would be probably run a web company that I don’t own or be responsible for product at a bigger internet business. But I don’t want to go back. I love being an entrepreneur.
EU-Startups.com: What was your worst business idea yet?
Jens Begemann: In early 2001 I was planning to found a start-up that innovated in search, but I didn’t do it in the end (the bubble collapsed) and that was good. I probably wouldn’t have had a chance against Google.
EU-Startups.com: What are your thoughts on the startup-scene within the European Union: Do you think it will ever become competitive in relation to the US-scene?
Jens Begemann: We should stop trying to re-create Silicon Valley in Europe – because the Bay Area is unique. But Europe is also unique and different than San Francisco: I think for start-ups with an international focus it’s even easier to start in Europe as localization is more in the DNA of Europeans.