Neopolis: 2.5 million to turn the world into a giant game board

9 September 2021


Good news, resources, and job opportunities: discover all the latest updates from the H7 community in your email inbox.

La Belle Histoire is a series of articles featuring entrepreneurs and their teams. the main characters – starting from where it all began the genesis – to share with you the stages they went through – and the epic -. What next? They’re still writing it 😉

This beautiful story begins in the summer of 2018. Roland and Ben are sitting on the terrace, beer in hand. There’s a good rapport between the two men, who share an almost visceral need to create things.

Ben Kaltenbaek has been passionate about entrepreneurship for a long time, and is doing his work-study in a start-up, developing side-projects with his long-time friend Lucas Odion. Roland Lamidieu is a graduate of Centrale Lyon and develops mobile applications.

The genesis

The day after they meet, Roland takes off for Australia, and the two decide to keep in touch. Well settled in, the young engineer keeps his word and offers Ben his first challenge: to launch as many applications as possible in as little time as possible. Ben accepts and integrates Lucas. Having worked for Havas and Natixis, his organizational skills and pragmatism are invaluable and complementary. The proof is in the pudding: three apps were quickly launched, including a game of historical anecdotes that attracted several thousand users. The team is founded.

A few weeks later, the three friends meet up in Bangkok for a seminar-style vacation. That evening, on the hotel rooftop, they brainstorm about launching a more ambitious application than the previous ones. Surrounded by skyscrapers, they dream of developing a giant monopoly where everyone owns buildings in the real world. The idea was born.

The epic

It’s the start of Neopolis, a mobile game at the crossroads of their passions. Roland is a born gamer, Lucas is an expert on board games and Ben is one of Lyon’s first Pokemon Go players, for whom he used to organize gatherings.

Back in France, the trio set to work. The first step was to validate the concept with a video presenting the game’s mechanics in Lyon. The objective was reached with over 200,000 views, articles in the local press and, above all, 2,000 pre-registrations. Their arrival at H7 in April 2019 formalizes their desire to accelerate, not only for themselves but also for their loved ones. ” The first time my mother came to H7, she realized this was serious business,” recalls Ben.

It’s the perfect time to launch a first prototype in Lyon, bringing together a hyper-active community that can walk for miles to collect neocoins, the currency used to buy buildings in the mobile game. Ben and Roland, soon joined by Lucas at the end of his alternation between Paris and Marseille, are moving forward at TGV speed. They learn, are surrounded at H7 by “positive, talented people” and break the famous entrepreneurial solitude.

Concept validation and positioning

As iterations go by, virality gives way to controlled growth where they have to be good at acquisition and retention. Their vision is clear: video games are the ultimate social network, where the race for likes has no place. Social interaction is constant, sincere and natural. Like the concert organized by American rapper Travis Scott on Fortnite in April 2020, which attracted more than 27.7 million players, Neopolis is developing a veritable bridge between the real and digital worlds. “Adding an overlay to reality makes the outside world more fun and unleashes creativity.” points out Ben.

The three founders quickly reach the next levels, officially launching the game in October 2019 with 30,000 users and closing a first part of their fundraising to recruit and redesign the architecture. At the start of 2020, they welcome four talents to accelerate monetization and improve the product. The results are in and the good news, each more improbable than the last, follows on from the next.

Jean-Luc Reichmann asks a question about Neopolis on his show Les douzes coups de midi and the waiters stand firm. Mobile gaming aficionados share their passion by posting tutorials on Youtube or telling anecdotes. There’s the player who goes home to his family at the end of every month, preferring to take the train to collect neocoins. Then there’s the father who entrusts his phone to his daughter on every car journey.


While the health crisis has reshuffled the cards, it hasn’t put an end to the game. Quite the contrary. A year has now passed, and the various version upgrades have enriched the gaming experience. ” We want to make Neopolis a living place by adding real-world events such as the Fête des Lumières, which modify the missions that players pursue on a daily basis,” recalls Ben Kaltenbaek. To meet the general public and continue its international launch, Neopolis is now thinking bigger than the buildings that surrounded the trio in Bangkok three years ago. This includes the acquisition of new 230m2 premises in the center of Lyon and a €2.5M fund-raising campaign.

So they leave the H7 living space, but remain members of a community they pioneered. “And then there’s still a chance that I’ll remain the owner of H7,” Ben concludes with a laugh. From H7? “Yes on Neopolis. Auctions are going through the roof!

Update, August 2023: the latest news from Neopolis
Sana Chennoufi


Des bonnes nouvelles, des ressources et des jobs : découvrez toute l’actualité de la communauté H7 dans votre boîte mail.