Pengu creator Slay raises $5M for social gaming platform

Slay has raised $5 million to build its social gaming platform that already has a headstart thanks to its popular Pengu virtual pets game.

Slay’s games and apps have been well-received, collectively attracting more than 2.5 million monthly active users, 650,000 daily active users, and more than 10 million downloads. Slay’s revenues in 2024 to date are already 10 times 2023’s revenues, said Fabian Kamberi, CEO of Slay, in an interview with GamesBeat.

In the social platform, you’re kind of an ambassador for Pengu content that you can share with friends. You can also see what other people are doing with their social sharing.

“We are working a lot on creating this immersive social gaming platform. And my big vision is to let users fulfill the narratives they have in their minds with the virtual pets of Pengu and, down the road, with more kinds of characters. This in itself creates unlimited range for users to engage,” Kamberi said.

Lil Snack & GamesBeat

GamesBeat is excited to partner with Lil Snack to have customized games just for our audience! We know as gamers ourselves, this is an exciting way to engage through play with the GamesBeat content you have already come to love. Start playing games now!

Accel led the round, with participation from Laton VC, HYBE America CEO Scooter Braun, King cofounder Riccardo Zacconi, Popcore cofounder Johannes Heinze, Supercell cofounder and CEO Ilkka Paananen, and Tripledot cofounder and CEO Lior Shiff.

Slay will use the funding to build an immersive social gaming platform for its highly-engaged users and developers to create their own content and engage more deeply with its popular virtual pets game, Pengu. It is working on an AI platform as well as more ways to get Pengu across the globe. About 80% of the users are in the U.S., and the audience goes far beyond the home country of Germany.

“We are very sophisticated and understanding when to onboard users friends, and make sure that they have a smooth experience at the end of the day,” Kamberi said. “Let’s say you feed the penguins. You play a mini game, you earn coins. You earn a reward and you and your friend feel you accomplished something together.”

The goal is to get people to continuously play and engage for a long time and hang out together. The game is focused on positive play and it’s meant for friends to play with each other or kids to play with parents.


Slay cofounders
Slay cofounders (left to right) Jannis Ringwald, Fabian Kamberi and Stefan Quernhorst.

Slay’s mission is to build positive social gaming experiences that bring people together and unleash their creativity. It was founded in 2022 by Berlin-based cofounders Fabian Kamberi, Jannis Ringwald and Stefan Quernhorst.

Slay has released a number of successful gaming titles and apps designed to foster positive social interactions, such as frfr, the AI voice messaging app for Instagram stories and the first AI social product to top charts across the world.

Pengu, Slay’s most successful title, is a virtual pets app where users raise their own digital penguin, play engaging mini-games, and connect and socialize with friends and family by “co-parenting” Pengus together or using tools to communicate with other Pengus.

The Pengu game came out in early form at the end of the year and it has been growing fast ever since. The company also did three other apps, including one called W — with a bunch of mini games and anonymous polls — that got hundreds of thousands of users.

“We had several hits, but the current focus of the company is on Pengu, since it is bigger and more successful than anything else,” Kamberi said.

Pengu’s shareability has led to it quickly attracting a substantial user base globally, with more than 500,000 daily active users and close to 100,000 ratings in the App Store since it launched at the end of 2023.

Recognizing the game’s significant organic traction and resonance with users, Slay is enhancing the Pengu user experience with the launch of new customizable games and characters.

Slay will also release features for users to better interact and socialize with each other on the platform, including AI features for communicating and playing with other players’ Pengus.

In addition, the company is providing a developer platform where users – and commercial studios – can create their own content and worlds in Pengu. Pengu has already seen significant interest from developers, with a number of games created and integrated into the ecosystem, and ongoing negotiations with other developers and studios.

The Pengu game is so hot now that the team is focusing on turning it into the platform, rather than create more games to run on top of the platform now.

In 2024, the company has launched its AI chat for users to converse with their Pengu. And it launched features where users can tap AI to create cosmetics for the game. The company is also launching a developer relations program to help studios create casual content that Slay can publish.

Slay has 2.5 million monthly active users for apps like Pengu.

Kamberi said, “We believe in a social gaming ecosystem where great products bring people joy while encouraging authentic connections with friends and family. Distribution is the hardest problem in games right now and only happens if you build a shareable platform that facilitates product-led growth.”

He added, “We’ve identified a scalable playbook through Pengu, the perfect place to maximise your creativity and imagination, and have been delighted with the virality and organic growth it’s achieved. We are excited to be announcing today’s investment to help expand the ecosystem, so people can play, stay connected, and create new and exciting content in a positive environment.”

Luca Bocchio, partner at Accel, said in a statement, “We’re excited to continue our partnership with the talented team at SLAY as it looks to expand and strengthen its existing ecosystem and IP. As gaming expands its hold on entertainment and popular culture, the way consumers interact with the medium becomes inherently more social, expanding the market opportunity significantly. We look forward to the next stage of SLAY’s journey.”


The company got started in December 2022. It had good connections with high-profile angels like Zacconi, former CEO of King. But it stayed under the radar and focused on coming up with a good virtual pet game. It scored with a cute 3D penguin called Pengu, which launched at the end of 2023.

Slay has raised $7.7 million to date and the team has 14 people. It is hiring.

The goal was to combine social and deep content so that the game could distribute itself. There are multiple minigames associated with Pengu.

“Accel was the first believer in us, as they did the first round. They have been the best partner for us,” Kamberi said. “The ambition is to turn Pengu into the platform and introduce more new characters.”

Kamberi believes that the viral nature of social gaming platforms allows people to discover games without the need for paid distribution. It helps with retention and engagement, and that ultimately leads to monetization.

The difficulties of the mobile market in the wake of Apple’s focus on privacy over targeted ads means “companies like us have to think creatively,” he said.

He added, “I think that’s healthy because that is how you create things that really matter for the users. They can get excited about things like the Pengu character.”

Over time, Kamberi thinks new game-friendly platforms will emerge and change the world.

“My conviction is that we can do it,” Kamberi said.

The mobile market and Berlin

While many other mobile game companies are having tough times, Kamberi said his team understands distribution and the organic nature of viral content. The company is focused on casual gaming content that can be fun to share.

As for the Berlin game startup scene, Kamberi said it is small but growing. It had the heritage of great game companies like Wooga in the past, and that studio is still owned by Playtika. But the city could still use a resurgence of game companies and Kamberi hopes his firm can lead the way.

“We have the right people to learn from,” he said. “There have been good companies. I hope we can double down on this.”


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.