Here come the franchises: Bellevue game studio tinyBuild raises $15M

by Quinten Dol
February 18, 2019
tinybuild raises 15 million
photo via tinybuild

With its first franchise taking off and more in the works, quirky Bellevue-based indie game developer and publisher tinyBuild filed SEC documents detailing a $15 million funding round last week, bringing the company’s funding total to $18.8 million.

Co-founder and CEO Alex Nichiporchik confirmed the funding in an interview with Built In Seattle.

“We’ve found what we’re good at, and it basically falls under five categories — three of which I can openly talk about,” Nichiporchik said, “and we’re putting games into each of those categories.”

The first category is horror games, where the company is looking to build on the success of “Hello Neighbor,” where players use stealth to break into their creepy neighbor’s basement and figure out what he’s hiding in there.

“We released a prequel in December, now we’re working on a multiplayer spinoff — and there’s more coming,” Nichiporchik said. The company has taken the opportunity to branch into merchandising, producing books and looking into card games based around the “Hello Neighbor” brand.

 

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The company, which featured in Built In’s 50 Tech Companies in Seattle to Know in 2019 also wants to invest in more “innovative gameplay.” Nichiporchik listed examples including “Party Hard,” where players use any means necessary to stop a neighbor’s loud party; “ClusterTruck,” where players leap across a fleet of speeding semi-trailers; and “Guts and Glory,” about a father and son cycling together through “obstacle courses of death.”

Lastly, Nichiporchik said the company plans to produce more mod-based games. The idea for one of tinyBuild’s titles, “Pandemic Express,” came from a mod in Counter-Strike’s source code called “Zombie Escape.” In it, players spawn on a map — and one of their teammates is secretly a zombie on a mission to infect the rest of the team.

“I strongly believe that the modding community is one of the most innovative communities out there,” Nichiporchik said. “We’re working on a few of these kinds of projects where we take a popular game mod and experiment to turn them into full-on games.”

Aside from investing in more franchises, tinyBuild will use this cash infusion to build out its team.

The company currently employs 27 people and is hiring to build out both its Bellevue headquarters and Amsterdam branch office. Nichiporchik says he splits his time evenly between both, and mostly works with game developers based in the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, plus a few teams in Canada and the United States.

Nichiporchik declined to name the investors involved in the round, which brings tinyBuild’s funding total to $18.8 million. The company’s last funding round last April was led by Hong Kong gaming venture firm Maker’s Fund.

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