GameFounders is giving six startups a big boost today.
Launched in July, the organization is Europe’s first business accelerator devoted to gaming. Juhan Parts, the minister of economic affairs of Estonia, is opening the first season, which includes six teams of 20 people. They have moved to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, for a three-month regimen of mentoring, networking, and developing.
“The difference for GameFounders is that the accelerator is dealing only with games and gamification,” cofounder Kadri Ugand told us. “All mentors will understand all startups — they speak the same language and know the business. In regular accelerators, a lot of mentors are not from the right sector and can only be useful for some of the teams. With us, the mentors are used much more efficiently, and it is more fun for [them] since all the startups are down their alley.”
Over 70 mentors from 15 countries will assist, coming from companies such as Zynga, Facebook, Unity, 6waves, Remedy, Creative Mobile, and more.
Among others, the teams consist of former Ubisoft employees, gamers, football fans, and even a board game company looking to go mobile. They come from Italy, Holland, Argentina, Hungary, Lithuania, and Estonia, bringing diverse interests to the program. Each is focused on a different goal, such as creating a visually impressive cooperation game, developing for browsers, or taking a new approach to language learning in gaming.
“We chose the teams because we believe in [them],” said Ugand. “They have shown that they can deliver and work well together. Their products are interesting, and our mentor base can make a real contribution toward their develpoment.”
Demo Days events will take place in Tallinn, Helsinki, London, and San Francisco at the end of the three-month period.
The accelerator is an excellent opportunity as it provides participants with startup capital, high-level mentorships, partnerships, and a global contact network. The European Regional Development Fund cofinances the Startup Estonia program of Enterprise Estonia, which in turn cofinances the accelerator.