Lightbank Makes First Mobile Gaming Bet On Battle Bears Developer, SkyVu

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Mobile gaming company SkyVu Entertainment has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Lightbank with Nextview Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Michael Chang (former CEO of Greystripe), and the Nebraska Angels also participating. This marks SkyVu’s first round of institutional investment and Lightbank’s first investment in mobile gaming.

The Nebraska-based SkyVu is best known for its mobile gaming franchise Battle Bears, which is sort of like Carebears with a more action-focused edge. Co-founded by animator Ben Vu, SkyVu has seen 18 million downloads of its five mobile games on iOS and Android, which include both free to play and paid games.

Lightbank partner Paul lee, who met Vu at the Big Omaha conference earlier this year, has been looking for a mobile gaming company to invest in for the past year and a half. After looking at over 50 companies for potential investments, Lee couldn’t find a studio that had a mixture of talent, quality animations, potential for revenue and more. Until SkyVu.

In a highly competitive sector, the company, which is already profitable, is seeing average in-game sessions of 15 and a half minutes, which is significantly higher than the average mobile in-game session of around seven minutes. Vu credits this to the games’ comedic alternative to Call of Duty experience, which plays well in a short time span. We’re told the company is doing several million dollars in top-line revenue.

Lee was impressed with how the bootstrapped studio has carved out a definite identity of characters, and sees potential in the franchise expanding to merchandising, tv and other platforms, similar to the way Rovio has expanded its Angry Birds empire.

The new funding will be used for marketing, expanding the brand into other markets including Asia, and to open a satellite office in the Bay area.