Singapore-based online gaming startup Mighty Bear Games announced today that it has raised “seven-digit US dollars” in what it terms to be one of the largest seed funding rounds in Southeast Asia. The round was led by a group of US-based gaming investors, including Skycatcher, Everblue, and M Ventures.
The money will be used for hiring global game development talent and launching its first batch of titles.
“Mighty Bear’s vision is to be a global gaming powerhouse that produces titles not just for Singapore or Asia, but for the world. That’s why our investors actually span three continents — North America, Europe, and Asia. We had a strong investor base in Asia and Europe from our previous round, so we made a conscious decision this round to expand our US investor pool. For us, this opens doors through their networks and connections, and for them we offer them insight into the most exciting region on earth at this moment in time: South East Asia,” Mighty Bear CEO Simon Davis told e27.
Mighty Bear was founded in 2016 by a team of veteran gaming professionals, who have previously worked for companies like King, Ubisoft, EA, Lucasarts, Disney, Bigpoint, Gameloft, and Jagex. The founders were earlier part of Nonstop Games, which was shut down in 2016 before coming up with the new venture by raising US$777,000 in seed funding. The company’s other investors are Global Founders Capital, the VC arm of Rocket Internet; Atlas Ventures; and Lev Leviev, Co-founder of VK.com — Eastern Europe’s largest social network with 460-plus million registered users.
A massively multiplayer online games studio, Mighty Bear is currently market-testing its first game in the Philippines and India ahead of a full global launch on iOS and Android later this year. “The Philippines can be a pretty good proxy for developed markets in terms of engagement and retention,” added Davis. “For most of us, it was our first time releasing a game in India. It’s a really interesting market and we wanted to benchmark that against a known quantity. We’re globally-focused, we’re not specifically making games for Singapore or any other market. Like all the best entertainment the challenge for us is to create content which has global appeal.”
Mighty Bear, claims Davis, is building a Massively Multiplayer Online game with a different approach and deliberately targeting a more mainstream audience than the dominant massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPGs) on mobile today. “We know that this is a genre that engages players very strongly and more casual massively multiplayer online games have a great pedigree on personal computers, especially in the days of browser gaming with titles like Runescape, which was once upon a time the biggest online game. We really feel that no one has really delivered a super accessible, social MMORPG on mobile yet and we’re excited to be entering this space.”
In Singapore, popular titles like Hearthstone, League of Legends, Clash of Clans and PUBG have caught the imagination of the youth, but Davis says none of these titles do not follow the market trends. “The thing which unites them all is that they didn’t follow the market trends; they were all the first to do what they were doing in their respective areas. Likewise, we’ve identified a space where we think there’s an opportunity to bring people fresh and hyper-engaging experiences. We’re not following the trends, we’re creating something fresh (a mainstream, socially-focused MMORPG) which we think will stand out from what’s currently on mobile.”
According to Davis, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning offer unique opportunities for developers. “We’re certainly looking to leverage AI and Machine Learning for massive multiplayer games, as they can strengthen technologies such as matchmaking, predicting load, optimising retention, etc. although it’s still early for us.”