What happens when you put a bunch of talented artists in a room? Game on! Seriously. The game is Dots and the company recently closed a $10 million Series A round from investors from Tencent, Greycroft, Northzone, Crunchfund, and Alphaworks.
Dots is a casual game about connecting: you have a minute to connect colored dots and see how well you score. As you play, you also earn “dots” which is the game’s currency for advanced powers. You can earn these by playing or via in-app-purchases.
The company spun out of betaworks and both their currently available games – Dots and TwoDots are available as free downloads for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Cofounder and CEO Paul Murphy talks about why player – and investors – keep coming back for more.
Tell us about your product.
We make unique games with thoughtful design.
How is it different?
Our games take inspiration from the arts.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Mobile gaming nearly $30B / year annual market, and growing a % of the overall $100B / year gaming market.
How did being part of betaworks help launch the company?
Couldn’t have happened without betaworks. You need a platform and runway to experiment when building and launching a game. Once you have traction, it’s easier to raise money, but you need to have the environment that gives you a chance to get some of that traction.
What’s your business model?
Our games are free-to-play.
What was the funding process like?
Fairly straightforward, easier than it’s been before for other companies. We knew the investors well and it was more just a matter of when we pulled the trigger on the investment.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The private markets are heavily influenced by public markets, so the ups and downs of the larger game studios impacts private-market sentiment. It turns out just fine for us, but many of the larger studios are struggling to scale their revenues and that ultimately certainly plays a role in sector-confidence for private markets.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I hope they view it like pouring gas on a fire. We’re cash-flow positive, the investment allows us to scale a business that’s already doing well.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are a creativity-focused game studio. We’ll generate profit and grow revenues, but success will be measured for us by the quality of the games we product.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Capital is not the hard part. Yes, it’s hard and time-consuming to raise money. But the hard part is forming and growing a business. Focus on that, and if your business shows signs of life, investment will find you.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’ll continue to scale the TwoDots franchise. It’s done incredibly well yet we know it can do even more. You’ll see us enter new platforms like Facebook and new markets like China, while continuing to improve the game. After that, it’s all about new games which we’re already working on.
What’s your favorite bar to go and connect over a drink?
We have a soft spot for the Brass Monkey. Real beer, great spot, cool staff. But betaworks just got a beer tap and they’re just downstairs, so you’ll probably see us hanging out there more often!