Plain Vanilla Games

love their website design – it is cool

It was great to see Plain Vanilla Games, an Icelandic Game Development company raise $2.4 million Series A round with VC firms in the valley. I continue to believe that companies like this are and can be created in Iceland, that is the whole point for me to start betting my time, effort and money in the Venture space or really early stage companies here in Iceland. I saw the team pitch first in 2011 Seed Forum. When you think about it, why did it take so long for this company to raise capital? that too outside of Iceland when there is plenty of capital in Iceland? I am finding out the answers watch out for a blog post that dissects the funding problem in Iceland in the near future. I think this is fantastic news for the Iceland Startup Community, why do I believe that? well, now a young startup has a road map, a role model, a contact and a network that they can tap into which is the most important thing in this business. It was interesting to see the roster of investors in this round of capital raise:

  1. Greycroft Partners
  2. Tencent
  3. BOLDStart Ventures
  4. IDG Ventures
  5. CrunchFund
  6. MESA+
  7. Riot Games (makers of the massively popular League of Legends) CEO Brandon J. Beck
  8. Unity3D CEO/super-brilliant-dude David Helgason.

With the closure of the round, David Helgason and Greycroft’s Ellie Wheeler will be joining Plain Vanilla’s Board Of Directors.

I want to dissect this deal to show how an Icelandic startup can actually get to survivability, because typically what capital does is give Entrepreneurs time to fight another day until they don’t have to rely on external funding to keep the company going. I have met the founder of Plain Vanilla Games Thor Fridriksson, a couple of times, I want to understand from him soon how he pulled this deal together. My guess is that David Helgasson, the CEO of Unity3D who is an Icelander brought in the big boys into the deal. Unfortunately you need people like that to put deals like this together. Again, I am hypothesizing and I could be wrong. There are Icelandic links into Riot Games as well. So the learning from this is to leverage and build your network not necessarily to raise capital but to build your business. I think end of the day that is what drives people to going to creepy lengths like Thor mentions in his TechCruch article “Plain Vanilla Scores $2.4M Series A To Turn Its Multiplayer Quiz Games Into Something More“.