Thursday, September 28, 2023

US VC giant a16z backs female-led game studio Lumi Interactive in record $9.76 million round

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Andreessen Horowitz’s legendary US venture capital fund a16z has channeled $6.75 million (A$9.76 million) seed money to Australian women-led game studio Lumi Interactive.

The oversubscribed round was also supported by 1Up Ventures, Galileo Ventures, Heracles and Double Loop Games founder Emily Greer.

Lumi sees it as her mission to make the world a friendlier place and plans to use the money to build the development team, scale the Kinder World game for a global launch, and bring the experience to more platforms, both online. as offline, to bring.

The startup has addressed the impact of the global pandemic by creating Kinder World, a “crowdhealing” game in which players care for their own unique houseplants by taking care of themselves in the real world, and sharing that kindness with other members of the community. community. The design was formed by the startup’s in-house wellness researcher, Dr. Hannah C. Gunderman.

A screenshot of the Kinder World app in action

Lauren Clinnick, co-founder and CEO of Lumi Interactive, said it marked another milestone for the game industry as one of the largest seed rounds in Australia.

She said the F2P mobile game, while still in early access, has found huge support via TikTok, with players describing how traditional mental health apps “felt like work”, while Kinder World “felt like a hot cup of tea” for their day. .

‘We are all exhausted and tired. In the depths of Melbourne’s long lockdowns, my small team found that nature and compassion made a huge difference in our personal lives, inspiring the creation of Kinder World,” she said.

“We call this type of experience ‘crowd healing’, where players come together to be kind to themselves and others, helping to heal the wider game world. Lumi is entering a fast-growing and much-needed category of its own.”

James Gwertzman, general partner of a16z, who led the investment in Lumi, said: “Here the goal is not to perform or compete, but to slow down, step back and take a much-needed mental health break.”

Kinder World is now in Early Access on Android and iOS, with a full launch expected in late 2022.

Clinnick said Lumi Interactive is currently recruiting for several remote-friendly positions, including an Acquisition Manager and Senior Game Designer.

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