Seriously has announced its latest round of funding – an $18M Series A round led by Northzone. The Venice-based company is best known for its widely popular game Best Fiends. With over 15 million downloads and 1.35 million active daily users under its belt, the developers of the mobile puzzle gaming app available for iOS, Android, and Amazon is looking to build out its production team and expand its offering beyond the Best Fiends brand with the new funding. Andrew Stalbow, cofounder and CEO, has plans to leverage his previous experience at 20th Century Fox and Rovio to build the next generation of entertainment through mobile gaming.
Today, we sit down with Andrew to learn more about the company, its future plans, global entertainment, and the funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Yesterday, we announced that we have raised $18 million in a Series A round. Northzone, early backers of companies such as Spotify, Trustpilot, and Avito, led the round. Korea Investment Partners, investors in companies including Daum Kakao Corp. and Naver, also participated, along with previous investors Upfront Ventures, Sunstone Capital and Daher Capital. This brings Seriously’s total funding to date to $28 million.
Tell us about your product or service.
At Seriously, we build mobile games designed to be developed into global entertainment properties. Since launching our first mobile game, Best Fiends in October 2014, the game has been downloaded more than 15 million times with over 1.3 million daily active players. We plan to release its second game in the trilogy later this year.
What inspired you to start the company?
While I was at 20th Century Fox, I noticed the dramatic audience shift to mobile devices. While at Fox, I worked on their mobile business, taking their TV shows and movies to mobile platforms. We were working on a project called “Angry Birds Rio” through a partnership with Fox’s “Rio” movie and Rovio’s “Angry Birds” mobile game, which was at the time becoming a big success. The Angry Birds Rio game turned out to be the best marketing platform for key demos of the Rio audience. It was at this point that I realized mobile had become an amazing content consumption platform and I was inspired to get into the mobile gaming business. I noticed the audience shift further when I went on to join Rovio before starting Seriously. Today, the average American spends an hour a day playing games on their smartphone. At Seriously, we believe the next generation of entertainment brands will be built on mobile first, and we want to be at the forefront of this.
How is it different?
At Seriously we are aiming to build the “Pixar of mobile” with quality games and a strong attention to detail. We treat our mobile app as a platform for our intellectual property. Since launching less than 10 months ago, we have focused on continually enhancing the experience with frequent updates featuring new characters, events and addictive gameplay.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We built Best Fiends to resonate with all demographics and have a global appeal.
What’s your business model?
We treat our mobile app as a platform for our intellectual property as we build out the Best Fiends brand into a global entertainment franchise. Recently, Seriously recently partnered with Kidrobot, the premier creator and dealer of limited edition art toys, to launch collectible Best Fiends X Kidrobot vinyl toy figures. The company also launched on Apple Watch on day one of the Watch’s release and announced a soon to be released localized version of Best Fiends for the Korean market through a partnership with Incross.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our traction and team we have built so far, as well as our mobile-first approach and vision for the future of expanding Best Fiends beyond the mobile game and into a global entertainment franchise.