Unlocking the Power of AI for Marketers: Superfine's Christian Calderon Reveals His Unconventional Path to Innovation

Unlocking the Power of AI for Marketers: Superfine's Christian Calderon Reveals His Unconventional Path to Innovation 

Christian Calderon, Co-Founder & CEO of Superfine, explains his journey from aspiring game developer to AI enabler.

You started as an investment banker. How did you go from that to Superfine?

I had been making games since I was 12, just out of passion, but I was always told that it was a waste of time; so, when I finished college, I just picked whatever career made the most money, thinking I could always figure it out later. That’s how I went into investment banking in 2010, covering the videogame industry. 

Three years later, I joined Kixeye following an M&A where I represented the seller. There, I helped launch our first mobile game, which hit number one. However, I wanted the startup experience, so I joined Dots in 2014 as VP of Marketing and Revenue – a technical role responsible for user acquisition. Again, we launched a game that hit number one in 100 countries. Then, Dots was acquired and I joined Ketchapp in Paris. We launched 2048, which became a global phenomenon; it grew so fast that we couldn’t make more games quick enough to move users around and utilise our traffic. That’s how we became a games publisher. By 2017, although we were only six people, we were the number one game publisher in the world with almost 4 billion downloads. 

At that time, I was talking to game developers, asking them what was the one thing that we could do to make their lives better. I was really surprised to get almost the same answer from everyone: “We would love to publish the games ourselves.” I realised that there was a need for software that allowed developers to self-publish.

So, when we eventually sold the company to Ubisoft in 2017, I went to Vietnam, where many of our games were coming from, to meet some of our developers like Tuan Anh Nguyen, who became my co-founder. I just fell in love with the ecosystem and moved there. 

Kixeye reached out again, asking if I could help them as an operator become more profitable in order to exit. We created Kixeye Studio in Vietnam and Kixeye was sold in 2018. 

Finally, with the same setup and crew, we created Superfine, going back to our original software idea. 

So what does Superfine do?

Today, to create a global advertising campaign, you could be working with dozens of different ad networks at the same time in hundreds of countries. You have to log into each of the platforms and upload your creatives, which takes a lot of time to set up. So, we came up with an AI marketer. The AI sets it all up for you and saves you a ton of time. 

First, you select the creatives that you want to run and Superfine creates the advertisement for you, formatted for each of the 30 ad networks that we work with. The LLM detects the size of the video, tags and analyses it, and gives you a campaign and media buying plan: persona, language, gender, platform, etc. You can change whatever you want, even the language with automated translation.

Then, the AI takes your budget and moves it around to what’s performing best. You can orchestrate burst campaigns, get recommendations, and set rules like a specific return on ad spend. Superfine tracks all your revenue and spend, and a couple of other things like the game’s lifetime value, new users, retention, etc.

We’re a SaaS charging customers based off of install events. The subscription price scales as you need more install events. 

How did you develop and finance this solution?

Everything was done in-house, and it took us years.

We raised a total of about $3.2 million, including a pre-Seed for $600,000 with Play Ventures. I also put in about $400,000. 

Who are your customers?

Currently, Superfine is just for games, but it can technically be used for anything. 

We started with games because these companies are usually the first to spend big on user acquisition, adopt new technologies, and explore new markets. We’re now in a private beta, working with the largest web3 games in the world and we have about 100 games on the waitlist. We’re onboarding three more studios this month to do self-serve and give us feedback. 

And then, we plan to open it up to everybody, doing pilots and testing with non-gaming applications to see if we can help with their marketing. One of the reasons why we’re coming to Abu Dhabi is because we want to expand outside of gaming.

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