Scopely, a Los Angeles startup that’s built a platform for distributing and monetizing mobile games, is announcing that it has raised $35 million in Series A funding.
Co-founder and CEO Walter Driver alternately described his goal as creating “the HBO of mobile games” and “the HBO of touchscreen entertainment.” The company develops its own games and also publishes games developed by others. The key, Driver said, is that many of the studios creating the best games don’t have the right tools to promote and make money from their titles.
“Our focus is all about building the business and technology platform to turn on analytics, ad mediation, distribution, for the most elite developers,” he said. “It’s really unprecedented for a company in the game space to focus on the game publishing functions first, and to provide those at a really high level for game studios.”
Scopely’s games include Disco Bees, Dice With Buddies, and Slots Vacation. According to App Annie, its most recent release was Skee-Ball Arcade, which hit number one in the iOS App Store in both the United States and Australia.
Driver claimed that the company’s next wave of games will represent a big step up: “In terms of how immersive and robust the experience is, the games that are coming out in the next 12 months are an order of magnitude higher than what we’ve done in the past.”
The company raised $8.5 million in seed funding back in 2012 — which, as I told Driver, seems like a lot of money for a seed round, just as $35 million seems like a lot for a Series A.
“Yeah we’re an ambitious company with ambitious plans,” he responded, pointing out that the company made the seed funding last for two years. “I think we’ve been very capital efficient to date.”
The new round was led by Evolution Media Partners and Highland Capital Partners, with Knoll Ventures, Greycroft, The Chernin Group, and Sands Capital Ventures also participating. Rick Hess, co-founder and co-managing partner of Evolution Media Capital (which is part of the joint venture that created Evolution Media Partners) and Highland Capital partner Andy Hunt (who’s also co-founder of eyeglass startup Warby Parker) will be joining Scopely’s board of directors.