Rovio takes flight with Angry Birds: Leveraging growth from a mobile gaming phenomenon

Stephen Whiteside

When it was founded in Espoo, Finland a decade ago, Rovio had just two employees. By the end of last year, the company boasted more than 500 staff, and additional offices in China, Sweden and the United States. Its stable of eight games had also secured over 1.7 billion downloads worldwide, largely due to the unprecedented popularity of its Angry Birds series. The original version of this game went live in 2009, and five additional variants - set everywhere from Rio de Janeiro to the Star Wars universe - have since been made available to an army of enthusiastic players.

According to Michele Tobin, the company's vice president, brand ad partnerships and advertising in the Americas, the success of Angry Birds - which became the world's most successful paid-for app - was based on "a lot of science, a lot of trial and error and a little bit of magic". But with over 260 million active users of its games across the globe, the firm believed there were substantial opportunities to expand into other sectors.