Scopely raises $35M to start developing Hollywood infused mobile games

by Garrett Reim
November 13, 2014


Mobile gaming studio Scopely has just raised a large $35 million Series A round. Coming two years after raising $8.5 million in seed funding, Scopely has been rapidly growing its portfolio of mobile games and is planning on using this new capital round to launch games built around Hollywood intellectual-property, like films, television shows and celebrities. Since being founded in 2011, Scopely has put six games into the top five of the Apple and Google Play apps stores.

Known for bringing an HBO-style of development and promotion to the mobile gaming world, Scopely’s gaming business relies on flexibly developing games internally and through partnerships with outside indie gaming studios. The company rigorously tests games prior to launch and relies on an internal analytics platform to fine-tune different aspects of the games.

“We believe in a ‘game day’ launch, kind of like a movie,” said Scopely’s former chief business officer Andy Kleinman to Built In LA last year. “Everything is coordinated for one launch date because we can get a snowball effect.”

Helping along the snowballing process, Scopely markets to a network of 35 million players that have downloaded its games before and are likely to enjoy the newest launch. Apparently that model is working quite well as Scopely has grown to over 100 employees and is seeing a surge in revenue.

“Scopely has seen a tremendous acceleration of our business in 2014: we’ve added some of the top talent in the industry, more than doubled our revenue run rate in the past six months and formed partnerships with developers that are capable of delivering tent pole products in multiple genres across a diverse set of original and key licensed properties,” said CEO Walter Driver in a statement.

While previous Scopely games were polished versions of established games, some of the studio's new games are likely to include content from big entertainment brands. Scopely's investors Evolution Media Partners, Participant Media and Highland Capital Partners are all well connected to Hollywood. Scopely plans to “build bridges with intellectual-property holders and celebrities,” said Driver to Variety.

Scopely’s interest in turning Hollywood intellectual-property into a cash cow comes after Glu Games’ “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” app brought $43.3 million in its first quarter. It also comes after Los Angeles-based SGN (Social Gaming Network) debuted The Book of Life mobile game, an app co-launched with a 20th Century Fox Film by the same name.

SGN CEO Chris DeWolfe told Built In LA last month, when The Book of Life launched, that mobile games built around intellectual-property could represented a significant portion of their future efforts.

“We believe that deals like this will be the normal. Maybe 40 percent of games we will make in the future will have IP attached to them,” said DeWolfe.

Clearly, Scopely has similar ambitions.  Being that Scopely is located in the Los Angeles area, like SGN, and now better connected to Hollywood, it is well positioned to make something of those ambitions.

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