The former executive director of the International Game Developers Association is planning to launch a new incubator focused on independent game developers in Montreal this September.
Jason Della Rocca, the founder of Perimeter Partners, will be the CEO and co-founder of the yet-to-be-named business incubator dedicated to one vertical – the building and selling of video games. Della Rocca confirmed his first round of funding to launch the incubator in a blog post yesterday, and says the legal contracts are being written up now. The formal launch and announcement of a name is slated for September.
An incubator for indie game developers is exactly what Canada needs, Della Rocca tells ITBusiness.ca.
“Despite being an extremely successful and well-known country for game development, a majority of that production is done for multi-nationals,” he says. “You could say it’s a glorified sweat shop to a certain extent.”
Canadian developers do get good jobs, but the video games they create are the intellectual property of firms often based in the U.S., Della Rocca says, and Canada could retain more wealth if those video game studios were based here instead. As an example, Montreal is home to several large video game developers that are headquartered in the U.S. including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Eidos, and Gameloft.
The incubator might not be named yet, but Della Rocca is already looking for potential candidates to participate in the incubator. The target will be teams of two to five members developing mobile games and have not yet created a corporate structure. No prototype is required for admission, as background experience will be a strong consideration. But a good prototype could help.
Incubator participants will receive funding in the amount of $2,000 per month per team member. There’s also a $10,000 commitment towards marketing and player acquisition per project. Participants also receive public relations support, a shared work space, WiFi connection, backup servers, and developer machines with basic software and tools installed. Mentors participating in the program include Jon Blow, Ed Fries, Eric Zimmerman, and Kellee Santiago.
Teams maintain control over their intellectual property for the games produced while at the incubator. If teams generate revenue during the program, they will share 30 per cent with the incubator. After the team leaves the incubator, the revenue share is one per cent for every $10,000 invested, with a one-year expiration. The incubator also takes a five per cent equity stake for every three months a team is based there. The ownership stake will be capped at 25 per cent.
The incubator is taking a unique approach by focusing on a vertical of gaming only, Della Rocca says. It will also combine the building and selling activities under one roof.
“If we were doing tech in general, then the end market would be too varied to have any sense of focus to help the entrepreneurs,” he says.
Della Rocca first shared his idea for an indie game developer incubator in a blog post made Aug. 10, 2011.