Former GTA lead developer raises $110m for video game start-up

17 Jan 2024

Image: © chathuporn/

Following the Series D raise, Julia Wittlin of RedBird Capital Partners will join Build A Rocket Boy’s board.

Build A Rocket Boy, the Scottish video game company founded by a former developer of Grand Theft Auto, has raised $110m to launch its own open world platform among other developments.

Founded in 2016 and based in Edinburgh, Build A Rocket Boy is the brainchild of Leslie Benzies, former president of Rockstar Games subsidiary Rockstar North.

A video game programmer by background, Benzies lead the development of the GTA franchise until he left Rockstar in 2016.

The company will use the Series D funding to launch three flagship products: an immersive gaming open world platform called Everywhere, a video game series called MindsEye and a suite of user-generated content (UGC) design tools called Arcadia.

Investment was led by RedBird Capital Partners, a US-based private investment firm that focuses on entertainment, sports and experiential consumer ecosystems. RedBird partner Julia Wittlin will now join Build A Rocket Boy’s board of directors.

Benzies, who also chairs his company, said that he believes the launch of the new products, especially the UGC design tools in Arcadia, will be “game-changing” for the industry.

“RedBird’s expertise in building successful entertainment and media platforms will be invaluable and makes them a perfect partner,” he said.

“I started Build A Rocket Boy so that I could continue to share the stories I love with players and give them a place to create and share. We believe in a future where game creation is put in the hands of the players, and we will empower them with the tools to help shape this vision with us.”

Other backers of the funding round include Galaxy Interactive, NetEase Games, Endeavor, Alignment Growth, Woodline Partners LP and GTAM Partners.

“We are pleased to partner with and support exceptional talent like Leslie and the Build A Rocket Boy team as they build the next genre-defining game studio and entertainment platform,” added Wittlin, who leads emerging growth investing strategy at RedBird.

“RedBird’s investment portfolio in media, entertainment, sports and experiential consumer enables a differentiated perspective on the gaming industry and its convergence with other forms of interactive entertainment.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic