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Genvid Holdings has raised $ 113 million to power huge interactive live events such as the upcoming Raven Project.
If you are wondering what Massive Interactive Live Events (MILE) are, then you are not alone. They are both a game and a TV show. Genvid gave us a taste of it this spring with Rival peak, an online show on Facebook where viewers could determine the fates of 12 AI characters who clashed in a Survivor style show. Rival peak surpassed over 100 million watched minutes for its 12-week debut season.
The show earned 200 million engagements on 13 simultaneous 24/7 live streams, as well as a weekly wrap-up show hosted by actor Will Wheaton. Rival peak was a new kind of interactive experience that was part a game and part a reality TV show.
This is what enabled Genvid Holdings, a New York-based company to Genvid Technologies, to raise the new silver round. CEO Jacob Navok said in an interview with GamesBeat that the success of Rival peak inspired a new company where Genvid will become a publisher of MILEs in the future.
Raven Project incorporates the MILE concept into horror movies and games.
“It was a very competitive round table. The main impetus for this cycle is the fact that we are going to build a publisher, ”Navok said. “So far, we have mainly provided tools, technologies and services. In cases like Rival peak, we were not configured to produce this content. We were asked to produce it, and we produced it [along with Pipeworks]. And so what we wanted to do was formalize the direction our clients were already taking us in, and build [publishing capability] would allow us to develop our vision of MILEs.
The next MILE
The next game-like event is Raven Project, which the company revealed in a concept trailer today. It features young adults trapped in a cabin in the woods, and they are hunted down and stalked by zombies. It’s a horror show, or a horror game, and audiences can help influence the fate of humans as they fend off zombies.
“This is our concept for what the next generation of content will look like,” Navok said. “We call it Raven Project. It feels like you’re playing a game. But instead of being a game you play alone, it’s with millions of other people living simultaneously. We will also invest heavily in the social features around these titles. So you know Rival peak was above all a lonely experience. Most of the engagement came from watching the weekly TV show. In future products, you will be able to create characters in the overlay and send them to the streets and see them made in 3D and bid against other users for what should appear next.
The Project Raven video is creepy and it should make viewers feel more emotional than Rival peak. Navok recognized him.
“You have to expect storylines that look like living television, living movies, living comics,” Navok said.
Until now, Raven Project is a concept, but there will be some real projects going on soon.
Raven Project is the kind of show you’d expect from Netflix, which created a ‘choose your own adventure’ style show with Black mirror: Bandersnatch. And it’s no surprise that Genvid added Netflix director Cindy Holland, VP of Original Content, as an advisor. Holland will assist Genvid with strategy and content acquisition. But Navok said he couldn’t say more about what was to come with Raven or who else would be involved.
Netflix revealed yesterday that it has hired Mike Verdu, an Oculus and Electronic Arts veteran, as vice president of game development. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to see the connections here, where MILEs could be a new expression of transmedia, or take an IP address on multiple media like games or TV shows.
“Cindy directed interactive films such as The Creation of Bandersnatch to Netflix, and all of their interactive shows. We’re very, very excited to have his expertise, ”said Navok.
As a publisher, Navok said the company will produce content that will work with large original content based on IP licenses. In some cases, the major platforms will host the content and in some cases Genvid may self-fund the content and deliver it directly to consumers.
“We didn’t have a direct-to-consumer label and direct-to-consumer arm and account system or whatever you’d expect from anyone producing user level content that Rival peak obtained, ”Navok said. “I don’t build in-house studios.”
Navok further models his publishing house after Scopely, which works with many internal and external studios. The company raised a lot of money because Rival peak had an “eight-figure” budget, and those MILEs aren’t cheap to make, Navok said.
Navok said the company sees an opportunity to merge “backward” entertainment such as TV and live viewers with interactive “backward” entertainment like games in order to fully monetize new and existing fans for IP. .
“We wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for the request,” Navok said. “I’ve looked at other tech companies in games as well,” and he found that a lot of tech companies weren’t doing as well as the gaming companies themselves. For example, Epic Games makes a lot more money with Fortnite than with Unreal Engine technology.
Combined with the $ 33 million raised in two previous rounds, Genvid has now raised a total of $ 166 million since its inception in 2016. Existing
Investors Valor Equity Partners and Atreides Management co-led the round.
New investors Third Point Ventures, Cobalt Capital, LightShed Ventures, XN and Lux Capital participated in the final round alongside existing investors from Genvid, Galaxy Interactive, Horizons Ventures, OCA Ventures (via the new growth equity fund of OCA) and Makers Fund.
Strategic investment partners Huya, NTT Docomo Ventures and Samsung Ventures are also participating.
“The investors that we have brought in are very powerful in the media,” said Navok. “We have had a lot of investors in game content and technology.”
Navok said the new funding will be used largely to establish Genvid Entertainment, a new publishing subsidiary dedicated to producing MILE, following the success of the Facebook exclusivity enabled by Genvid. Rival peak, which was built by Pipeworks for Genvid.
Genvid Entertainment will produce and publish MILEs through the licensing of major intellectual property from the end of the year.
Facebook funded Rival Peak. But for the future, as a publisher, Genvid could take over several clients and several intellectual properties that Genvid could transform into MILE.
“We really had to formalize an organization to allow this,” Navok said.
As Genvid becomes an editor, Navok said it was not necessarily a pivot driven by failures in the original plan. The vision for 2016 is still the same, Navok said. Now, instead of being a pure technology provider, the company will also have the ability to internally publish content directly to consumers.
“It doesn’t change the technology we’re going to invest heavily in,” Navok said. “The technology side is an important part of our business and our business opportunity. But we are building on the existing demand that we have received from IP owners, media companies, technology platforms who have asked us not only to provide the technology, but essentially to lead the whole experience.
Navok said the company is working on a “content list” to be announced in the coming months by IP owners or platforms.
The change to publishing means that Genvid will have to hire staff. There are more than 100 today and there could be more than 200 around this time next year, Navok said.
He noted that companies that combine technology and content, like Epic Games does with Unreal Engine and Fortnite, are a good model for a successful video game business in the future.
“With the tools that we have generated so far with Genvid, we can generate income thanks to the publishing label and the partnerships that we will get from it, and I think we will end up with a flywheel that looks like Epic’s. “Navok said.” I call it more like Unity plus Scopely. But for interactive publishing.
When it comes to the metaverse, Genvid seeks to allow a lot of people to share the same experience, much like the people who watch Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite at the same time. So the Metaverse – something Navok cares about deeply – will certainly play a role in Genvid’s future, especially as it creates more MILEs for many more people.
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