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Columbus, Ohio-based Supersocial has 24 full-time employees making games such as the upcoming Ghostopia for Roblox. It is one of many game development studios, such as Israel’s Toya, that is emerged to develop games for Roblox, which has about 43 million daily active players. Roblox is one of many companies trying to build the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
Supersocial wants to inspire people to collaborate, socialize, and express themselves through play, said Supersocial CEO Yonatan “Yon” Raz-Fridman in an interview with GamesBeat.
“Roblox is really an era-defining platform,” Raz-Fridman said. “It has a game engine, publishing and distribution, a social network, a cloud service provider, all sitting at the intersection of all of these capabilities. And so for us, it was very strategic to start on the Roblox platform. But this is just where we start. We definitely want to expand in the future to other platforms.”
He added, “There is a whole new generation of platforms that are emerging. Roblox is obviously the first large-scale metaverse native platform. It’s the first real immersive playground for a whole generation of players and users. And so it’s no surprise that Roblox has grown as a user-generated content platform. And now it is scaling as a platform for companies like Supersocial with venture backing and a combination of industry veterans.”
Raz-Fridman and his fellow serial entrepreneur Pedro Romi, chief financial officer, started the company in June 2020. They had previously started Kano and Retroca, two venture-backed consumer tech and internet companies. They were joined by cofounders Luiza Justus, creative director, and Tatiana Wlasek, vice president of marketing and people experience.
Raz-Fridman said Supersocial is setting out to build the Nintendo of the metaverse age with products that make a lasting impact on fans. To achieve this ambition, Supersocial brought on board industry leaders from companies such as Nintendo (Chris Campbell, principal designer), Big Fish Games (Peter Yiap, technical director), and Dreamworks (Cara Khan, art director) who have a good track record across game design engineering and art.
“We’re really excited about this round of funding and really incredible group of investors,” he said. “They’re backing our ambition of building sort of Nintendo for the metaverse age.”
Initial Capital (founded by the serial entrepreneurs behind Playfish who led seed rounds for Supercell, Hutch Games, Nexmo, Supersolid, and Space Ape) led the investment, with contributions from Griffin Gaming Partners (investors in Discord, AppLovin, Skillz, Forte),
Warner Music Group, Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures, LightShed Ventures, Powerhouse Capital, Aream & Co., and angel investors.
Raz-Fridman said the company found investors who shared its vision for the future of gaming and the metaverse. Ken Lamb, cofounder of Initial Capital, who has joined the Supersocial board. In a statement, he said, “We are in the midst of a seismic shift in the nature of mobile gaming driven by super-fast mobile data, ubiquitous social media, user-generated content, massive multiplayer online worlds and a merging of ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds on platforms like Roblox and other emerging metaverses.”
The company is currently preparing multiple titles for launch on the Roblox platform including the spooky role-playing experience Ghostopia.
“We have been steadily growing several products and experiences that are going to be launched on the Roblox platform,” Raz-Fridman said. “This funding is the first fuel to enable us to deliver on our ambition of building a group of talented creators. We want to build the most iconic games and experiences for the metaverse starting on the Roblox platform.”
Supersocial has established Supersocial Labs, an evolution of the “cell” concept in mobile games tailored to metaverse platforms like Roblox. This bespoke division of Supersocial recruits and employs aspiring Roblox developers to create fun experiences in rapid development cycles and provides capital, operating expertise, support, and infrastructure to help creators bring new unique games to life.
“Roblox has been very transformative in democratizing the creation of games for a whole new generation,” Raz-Fridman said. “In a way Roblox is the largest learn-to-code platform in the world.”
Through the Labs division, Supersocial has multiple games under development, all of which are expected to be released in the near future. Raz-Fridman said the company has gathered a combination of veterans and fresh talent that grew up playing on Roblox. The youngest member of the team is 18 and the oldest is older than 50.
“We believe the next Super Mario franchise is going to be born on a platform like Roblox,” Raz-Fridman said. “This is what a big part of what gets us excited. It’s the intersection of a new generation of creators and a new generation of franchises that are being built. And we are at the first inning of that trend.”
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