Cellufun combines HTML5 transition with user-driven renaming contest

New York-based Cellufun is pairing its shift to HTML5 with a renaming contest that puts the company’s name in the hands of users.

Formed four and a half years ago, Cellufun got its start creating games accessed from a central website and played in feature phone browsers. While most of the companies making games for feature phones switched to developing smartphone apps, Cellufun kept its platform approach, focusing on creating a destination for players. Although Google Play lists 22 results for Cellufun apps, they are actually just launchers that redirect users to the company’s mobile website.

The company is now in the process of switching to HTML5 development. So far, it has transitioned about a quarter of its catalog of 33 games. According to CEO Lon Otremba, despite the challenges of working with an evolving technology, feedback has so far been positive.

“We live solely on the mobile web,” he says. “This gives us an opportunity for our games to mimic the experience you’d have in an app, but not have the downside of an app.

The company is backed by $7 million in funding from Longworth Capital, and is described by CEO Lon Otremba as being “modestly profitable.” Between 10 and 15 million monthly active users visit the Cellufun site, which has 9.1 million registered players — all of whom now have a say in what the company will be called, thanks to the company’s Re-Name Game.

“It was the result of some deep thinking about what we wanted to accomplish as a company over the next 12 to 36 months,” Otremba explains when asked why the company decided to rename after four and a half years. “We all concluded the existing name was looking backwards. As we go forward and rebuild our titles in HTML5, we can do a lot more. If we’re doing a lot of new and innovative things, it’s a good chance to really take a much more comprehensive approach to how we do business, including marketing, brand identity and even our name.”

Last month, the company challenged its users to come up with a new name for the company, promising the submitter of the winning suggestion a $10,000 cash prize.  Cellufun whittled down more than 17,000 submissions to 16 names and opened up the voting to registered users. The final name will be unveiled on April 4, and the company will relaunch with a new website shortly after the contest closes. The names still in the running are: Wirebolt, Zoynks, Tylted, Bamterra, Ahsylum, Groovoo, Uforiya and Gahoots.