Z2 vets raise $5M to grow Seattle studio Starform and launch social games – GeekWire
Seattle-based game studio Starform has raised $5 million. The startup plans to use the money on further development for its first game, as well as starting a team to work on a second project. Its unannounced first project, a team-based 5v5 arena game for PC and mobile, is currently in a closed beta.
Starform was founded in 2018 by Lou Fasulo, Taylor Daynes, Josh Rosen, and Jason English, all of whom formerly worked at the Seattle-based mobile studio Z2 before its acquisition by King in 2015.
The $5 million is a seed round led by the multi-national, gaming-focused venture capital firm BITKRAFT Ventures, with participation from Global Founders Capital, Vgames, and Dune Ventures.
“We are excited to partner with a skilled second-time founder team,” said Malte Barth, founding general partner of BITKRAFT. “Starform has a unique and strong culture that centers around building games that deeply resonate with the community.”
Since its last round of funding in 2019, Starform’s team has grown to 11 people, which includes developers with experience from ArenaNet, Amazon, and Big Fish Games. It plans to hire more for its second internal team.
“We’re big believers in social play,” Fasulo, Starform’s CEO, said in an interview with GeekWire. “We want to bring people together and give them social experiences, give them the opportunity to overcome challenges, to play together, and have those shared experiences that they’ll take with them outside the virtual world.”
There’s no plan at the moment for what Starform’s new team will work on, and according to Fasulo, that’s deliberate. They don’t have a specific project in mind, and intend to simply see what they come up with once they’ve formed their second team. The only guidelines in place are whether or not the game’s life cycle could theoretically last five to ten years, and if it could appeal to a global market.
“We will bring folks together who are excited to work together,” Fasulo said, “and what they do as a team will come from the team. We don’t have a specific game in mind at the moment. We’re very much believers that the team will find the right opportunity for them to go build something they’re passionate about.”
“One of our core beliefs is that game development is kind of the ultimate team sport,” he continued. “The hardest challenges in game development are really the creative ones: making something fun, making that last, making gameplay scalable, finding the right commercial strategy. In groups that are highly attuned and sensitive to each other, ideas can flow and grow.”