Dublin digital games firm raises €600,000 investment

16 Dec 2011

A Dublin-based start-up called Fantom, which is developing a digital trading cards game for kids, has raised €600,000 in investment in a round led by AIB Seed Capital Fund, Dublin BIC, Bloom Private Equity, Enterprise Ireland and private investor Kevin Neary.

Aimed at tweens, teens and young adults, Fantom will offer decks of digital collectibles in music, sport, TV, fashion and film among others, to collect online. Behind each collectible lies social media and licensed content making the card interactive. Fantom Fans can buy, trade and win rewards or simply enjoy the experience of owning the cards they have collected.

The game goes live before Christmas and looks set to capture children’s imaginations.

The launch version of Fantom is web-based, with the application running in the Microsoft Azure cloud, but the company has ambitious plans to take the game onto the mobile phone, and have kids of all ages swapping cards phone to phone.

“We’re a digital trading cards company, and we feel we have swapped cards with a clever group of investors who bring added value to the business beyond the investment,” said CEO Paul Healy.

Disrupting traditional channels

Fantom emerged as one of the first graduates of the DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator initiative in May of this year. DCURA is an existing investor in the company.

Welcoming the announcement Greg Treston, head of the High Potential Start-ups team at Enterprise Ireland said: “The games sector is a growing market space with major potential for ambitious Irish companies like Fantom. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they develop this very exciting project.”

Investor Kevin Neary said it is clear the momentum in computer games is moving online and onto smartphones. “I understand how online games has disrupted traditional channels and this is the opportunity I see in Fantom.”

Bloom Equity’s Conor Stanley added: “We tracked Fantom early on and have been impressed by what the team has achieved in a few short months.

“We feel they are now at the right stage to benefit from the investment and the experience of the investor group to accelerate their growth,” Stanley said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years