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Netspeak Games has raised $12 million to launch its first mobile game, a cute social title called Sunshine Days.
Netspeak was founded in 2019 to build worlds that people want to spend time in. It is focused on creating social spaces where friendship, collaboration and support are the foundations for cohabitation. Sunshine Days is being built for iOS and Android.
Lakestar and Project A led the round, with participation from Makers Fund, and additional support
from notable game leaders including Hilmar Veigar Pétursson (CCP), Phil Mansel (Jagex), and Catherine Chew (Kepler Interactive).
Sunshine Days is the company’s first title and it is representative of the company’s mission. With a multiplayer and mobile first approach, Netspeak has been heads down working on this first title since the middle of 2020.
The founders all met at Improbable and had an awesome time working together on some groundbreaking technology.
“We worked closely with most of the major multiplayer game studios and we learned a lot about the problems they face – both technically and culturally,” said Callum Brighting, CEO of Netspeak Games, in an email to GamesBeat. “After we’d seen the same issues come up time and time again, we decided it was our time to implement our own solution and build a really wonderful place to work together.”
This new funding round brings the total raised to date by Netspeak to $16 million, including earlier
seed investment led by Initial Capital, with participation from Makers Fund. The funding will empower
Netspeak to rapidly expand its team and grow at an accelerated rate.
“I’m thrilled on behalf of my whole team that I get to share this funding news today. At Netspeak we strive to get past our industry’s obsession with the latest trend or newest technology and make games which truly express the potential of our medium – by building worlds that our players will want to spend time in, by giving them tools to express and explore their identities, and by creating experiences that they can share with friends, old and new,” said Brighting. “Building a company during a pandemic has been a challenge – but I’m pleased to say that by being supportive, kind & continuing to prioritize our studio culture above everything else, we are now a world-class team backed by industry leading investors. ”
Netspeak Games said it is building a stellar team of veterans and rising stars from within the games industry and beyond. The studio has brought together talent with former experience at companies like Sony, EA, Rockstar, Payload Studios, Lockwood Publishing, Microsoft, Palantir, Sega Europe and King.
“Netspeak Games has taken a totally different approach to the type of games it is building and the internal culture they have created to build them,” said Mika Salmi, managing partner at Lakestar, in a statement. “I’m happy to be backing a team that is leading the way in a games market that can use some diversity.”
Netspeak Games is hiring for a number of positions. But the studio believes that great talent doesn’t always neatly fit a job spec; so it warmly welcome speculative inquiries from anyone looking to find a role in games. All Netspeakers are offered remote work as standard, unlimited holiday, enhanced pay structures for maternity, paternity, and secondary carers as well as independent learning days.
The company has 38 employees from 14 countries. Brighting, in an email to GamesBeat, said the team started in 2020, after about six months of unemployment during the pandemic.
“In our previous lives we spent a huge amount of time sitting and thinking about multiplayer,” Brighting said. “We believe there is less innovation in this space than there could be, because of the size of the budgets and the teams required. Multiplayer needn’t be about combat, high scores and grinding, and we believe the next big innovation can only be delivered by a small, diverse team working in an agile mindset. That’s the vision we’re working to.”
The title is a social, cross-platform mobile game set in a peaceful, wholesome, and inclusive game environment where every player will be drawn into their owl little adventure, full of surprising places to explore and fun activities to master,” Brighting said. “Along the way, the experience will be marked by memorable social encounters and emerging friendships.”
Asked what it was like to raise money in this economic environment, Brighting said, “Series A was always going to be tough — finding that balance between showing good, initial traction and laying the foundations for a game we’ll be making for the next 10 years is really tricky. Scalable technology and great workflows are hard to show off in an industry obsessed with day 1 retention and minutes played. But the team did an excellent job – and we didn’t lose sight of our culture and pillars to do so. Project A, Lakestar and Makers fund really see the value not just in what we’ve built, but in how we’ve built it too.”
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