Futurefly, a startup that includes former Remedy Entertainment game veteran Oskari “Ozz” Häkkinen, has raised $2.5 million in funding for a new mobile game and app-messaging technology.
Häkkinen, the former head of franchise development at Remedy (the maker of hit games like Alan Wake), joined the new company this summer in Helsinki, which is still a hotbed for mobile game startups (it’s the base for Rovio and Supercell and many others started by their veterans). Mobile games are expected to become a $30 billion business this year, eclipsing console games on a global basis, according to market researcher Newzoo. But Futurefly’s ambitions go beyond gaming.
Futurefly’s aim is to create traditional non-game consumer applications by uniting them with gameplay. Futurefly’s first project is an asynchronous mobile messaging app with 3D avatars, animations, mini-games and other such rich content from games.
The investors are an interesting group. European venture capital firm Visionplus Fund led the seed round, and it was joined by backers of companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Snapchat. Tekes, the Finnish fund for Technology and Innovation, is also an investor.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be backed by such prestigious investors. Our investors bring financial muscle, but really it’s their unprecedented experience and incredible track record working with messaging and social media giants where the real value for a start-up like our is,” said Pietari Päivänen, cofounder and CEO at Futurefly, in a statement.
The team has game and consumer app veterans from companies like Remedy, Electronic Arts, Sulake, Grey Area, Microsoft, and User Intelligence. They have worked on titles including Alan Wake, Habbo Hotel, Shadow Cities, Death Rally, Hero Hunt, Agents of Storm, Puzzle Bandits, and the upcoming Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break.
Häkkinen said the team is building a mobile game messenger that promises all the goodness from apps like WhatsApp, Kik Messenger, and WeChat, but with game features that are core throughout the experience.
“The Futurefly team is an exceptional, perfect storm of game and app development professionals coming together to create something truly innovative”, said Jari Tuovinen, cofounder and partner at Visionplus, in a statement. “They’re developing the next generation of messaging that I believe will be a showcase to how apps and games can be united in an engaging way.”
The company also announced that their investment round will temporarily remain open to potential investors with IP, brand, or celebrity affiliations, to help fulfill their user acquisition strategy goals. The company has nine employees.
“The plumbing works much like other messengers out there, however we use game development tools to bring beautiful 3D avatars, games and top class animations to the messaging experience. We are breaking down the walls of self-expression in messaging, if emoji was a first step in that direction, then we are taking a giant leap”, said Häkkinen.