GameFounders, the first startup accelerator in Europe that is purely focused on gaming and gamified apps, was founded this year by Estonians Kadri Ugand, Lauri Antalainen, Sven Illing, and American Paul Bragiel.
The accelerator, co-financed by the Startup Estonia program (itself co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund) offers starting game companies startup capital in addition to high-level mentors, partnership deals and a global contact network.
GameFounders’ team is composed of serial entrepreneurs in the gaming industry, and have experience with running a game studio and investing into games. They also claim over 60 mentors, most of whom are from the U.S.and Finland. The accelerator has also positioned itself to take advantage of the gamification trend that adds game-like hooks onto apps to make services more addictive and fun to use. GameFounders’ founders point out the potential of gamifying the fitness and educational sectors, as well as advertising, human interaction and healthcare.
The accelerator is offering an investment of 15,000 euros in exchange for 9 percent of the company, and you don’t need to have formed a company, as long as your team is willing to incorporate after it joins GameFounders. The accelerator is open to any kind of game, as long as it has already launched (even if it’s only in beta). The application process goes through a number of levels also including a Skype interview, personal interview and evaluation panel.
GameFounders first batch of aspiring startups started this summer – they had three months to work on their product and the demo day is now looming. Six gaming startups from 6 different countries will present their companies, games and apps on 4 demo days from 15 November until 10 December in Tallinn, Helsinki, Paris, and San Francisco. Despite the cold weather, the pace of development has been electrifying. The teams have produced new versions of published games, new games, gamified apps and negotiated deals. Now the time has come to show the goods.
The teams presenting are Mind on Games (manager-mania.com) with an online football manager, Bad Seed (badseed.com) with a portfolio of high quality casual mobile games, Glowforth (glowforth.com) with a mid-core mobile game, Baila Games (baila.ee) with a portfolio of offline and mobile party games, Akira Mobile with an online war strategy game and Plan B Labs (learninvisible.com) with an innovative gamified language learning app.
GameFounders has also opened the applications for the second batch of startups at gamefounders.com. The startups will get to enjoy the support of 70+ mentors, gaming partnership deals and seed capital for a moderate share in the startups. The selected startups will be expected to move to Estonia for the period of March-May 2013. Deadline for applications is 07 December, 2012.