A fledgling software company that specialises in retro games is set for its first major release after receiving backing from the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund, managed by Rivers Capital.
Middlesbrough’s Robo Pixel Games focuses on creating ‘pixel art’ games and graphics, emulating those produced by developers like Nintendo and Sega more than 20 years ago.
Having already created a mobile game for the Android platform last year, the firm is now poised for its first major standalone release - Gunnihilation, a 2D retro platform and shooter game to be made available for PC platforms such as Steam.
Robo Pixel Games co-founder, Elliott Oldham, said: “There is a lot of interest around so-called ‘retro’ games, which combine features of modern games such as customisable skill settings with the look and feel of games which people have grown up with.
“This is what we have tried to capture with Gunnihilation and we are really excited about the potential of the game as we look to launch it later this summer.
“The investment from the Finance for Business North East Angel Fund, together with the support we’ve received via Teesside University’s business support programme, has been crucial in getting us to this stage.”
Mr Oldham set up the company with fellow Computer Design, Art and Programming graduates Jonathan Clarke, Jammes Batten and Andrew Burnet.
To help accelerate its development, Teesside University has provided various forms of assistance, including supported office space, as well as professional advice.
Acting as a mentor for the company was Alex Shiel, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at law firm Ward Hadaway, who helped the start-up with legal questions on copyright and trade marks, before providing advice on the investment from Rivers Capital.
“Robo Pixel Games is a great example of the creativity and ambition shown by the start-up businesses being helped by Teesside University’s business mentoring programme,” he said.
“Elliott and the rest of the team at Robo Pixel are carving out a niche in what is a huge, fast-growing and fast-changing industry and it has been enjoyable working with them on the start of their company journey.”
The Finance for Business North East Angel Fund has so far invested £9m into 64 businesses in the region, with Ward Hadaway’s Corporate Finance team advising on more than half of the investments.
In Robo Pixel’s case, the investment process included taking on computer games expert Tom Didymus as non-executive chairman.
Dr Michael Dickens, fund manager at Rivers Capital Partners, said: “We were impressed with the presentation which Robo Pixel Games gave us and with their ambitions to grow their business.
“It was clear they had really benefited from the help and support given to them by Teesside University’s business mentoring programme and from the advice of professionals like Alex Shiel.
“As well as having good ideas, a clear vision for the company and technical knowledge, Robo Pixel Games was also set up well to pitch for and manage an investment.”