Dublin studio Vela Games raises $3.1m funding

14 Apr 2020

The founding team of Vela Games. Image: Vela Games

With the latest round of funding, Vela Games said it is ‘better positioned than ever’ to deliver its vision for cooperative multiplayer gaming.

Dublin-based video game studio Vela Games announced that it has raised another $3.1m in funding. In July 2019, the start-up secured €3.4m in seed funding to jump-start development of its first game, which it described as a “genre-defining multiplayer online cooperative game with original IP”.

The start-up, which was founded by Travis George, Brian Kaiser and Lisa Newon George in 2018, announced the fresh funding news in a blogpost last week.

The round was LVP, a London-based venture capital seed fund that focuses on the games sector. LVP has previously invested in Unity, Playfish, Supercell and Singularity 6. Other investors in Vela include IIU and Enterprise Ireland.

‘We knew that we wanted to build a global company based in Ireland’

With the latest investment, Vela Games said that the team is “better positioned than ever” to deliver its “unique vision” for multiplayer gaming, including a genre that it is calling multiplayer online co-op, or MOCO.

“Vela was founded with co-op in mind, but as we continue to prove out our designs, MOCO is the next step – a specific type of experience that blends our favourite ingredients from both competitive and traditional cooperative games,” the company added.

“We believe that MOCO can allow co-op play to reach new heights and unite gamers all over the world. We’re really looking forward to sharing more about MOCO with you when the time is right.”

LVP partner Are Mack Growen will now join the start-up’s board of directors. Vela Games has already established a team of 16 developers from various AAA studios, including Activision, Electronic Arts and Riot Games.

The gaming goal

Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com earlier this year, Kaiser, who is co-founder of Vela and director of creative design, explained that the firm wants to extend its reach from its Dublin base.

“We knew that we wanted to build a global company based in Ireland, but being able to reach out and find world-class talent from the US, the rest of Europe and possibly beyond,” he said. “One of the areas where Enterprise Ireland has been very helpful is in helping us to bring outside talent into Ireland, to help people settle and to grow the company.

“Our goal is to unite gamers all over the world through cooperative play. We’re hard at work at our first title, we have an amazing team in development, about 16 people, and we’re very excited.”

Kaiser added that the Vela Games team consists of people who have worked together in the past, as well as a number of new professionals.

“We wanted to make sure we had a bunch of different perspectives on the team, so across the team, people have been inspired by games of all different shapes and sizes. We are all particularly driven by online games.

“There’s something special about having the ability to play a game and share that experience with friends. For example, coming from California, I can keep up with my friends back there through gaming and the distance just melts away.

“I’ve kept up with people for decades using gaming as a way to stay in touch. Anything that’s online or allows people to play together, that’s the special magic that we’re trying to capture with what we’re doing.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic