/// How Do You Get VCs to Invest in a New Videogame? QuizUp Did It With "Twilight."
Apparently, the answer is “red.” The more you know. Pre-launch videogames, generally speaking, are not the best fit for venture capital. Games are notoriously a hits-driven business, and the sheer number of free titles being released every month makes picking the winners an inexact science, at best. Nothing speaks louder than numbers, though, as Silicon Valley outsider Plain Vanilla Games recently learned, with an assist from the “Twilight” movie franchise. Plain Vanilla was founded in 2010 in Iceland and almost went bankrupt in 2011. Once its first app The Moogies fell out of the Apple App Store’s featured section, sales plummeted, according to CEO Thor Fridriksson. Fridriksson and his two co-founders moved to San Francisco for three months on a tourist visa — without any preparation — and “naively expected people to throw money at us,” he said. After a series of rejections, the company secured $1.2 million in angel investment from Tencent, Sequoia Capital’s “ scout fund ,” Unity Technologies founder David Helgason and Riot Games cofounder Brandon Beck. But the turning point for the studio, as Fridriksson characterized it, was going to Los Angeles — again, without knowing anyone there — and partnering with Lions Gate Entertainment to develop a trivia game based on Twilight (“Which is this vampire teenager thing,” he pre-emptively explained to me). The numbers and feedback from Twilight QuizUp were “off the charts,” Fridriksson said, and strong enough to raise a $2.5 million Series A, mostly from Greycroft Partners and Tencent. Targeting a passionate niche helped Plain Vanilla make the case to investors that a social trivia game could work. After testing a few more niche QuizUp games (some of which have now been removed from the U.S.
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