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Skybound Entertainment, the creator of The Walking Dead franchise built by Robert Kirkman, has raised another round of funding.
The amount was not disclosed. Knollwood Advisory led the round, with participation from Hiro Capital, Boost VC and follow-on participation from Com2uS and Skydance Entertainment. Skybound Entertainment is home to acclaimed franchises such as The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Impact Winter.
“There’s nothing more powerful than storytelling, and I’m glad Hiro was able to invest in Skybound Entertainment, creators and curators of hugely compelling omniverses. As someone who’s killed countless zombies in games tables and video games over the years, I feel like Robert and I are kindred spirits,” Hiro Capital co-founding partner Ian Livingstone said in a statement.
Livingstone, who was recently knighted, is one of the founding fathers of games in the UK. He co-founded Games Workshop in 1975 and launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. He created the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in 1982, and these have sold over 17 million copies to date. He also played a central role at Eidos and in the creation of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Skybound brings together creators through its multifaceted businesses, including comics, interactive games, audio, film and television (traditional and digital platforms), licensing and merchandising. Skybound has successfully crossed some of its biggest IPs by connecting creators and their content to new platforms and audiences.
Skybound is responsible for turning Robert Kirkman’s comic book series The Walking Dead into a multi-billion dollar franchise through a television adaptation, numerous video games and merchandise, and novels. Kirkman’s comic book series Invincible is also in production for seasons 2 and 3 after a highly acclaimed and successful first season debut thanks to an exclusive partnership with Amazon Prime.
“We are thrilled to have Hiro join the family and welcome Ian to the board. This investment will help us accelerate the evolution of existing successful franchises as well as new content for our fan base around the world,” Skybound CEO David Alpert, on behalf of Presidents Robert Kirkman and his business partner Jon Goldman, said in a statement.
Founded in 2010, Skybound is a cross-platform content company that works closely with creators and their intellectual properties, extending their stories to other platforms including comics, TV, film, tabletop and video games. , books, digital content, events and beyond. The company is home to critically acclaimed global franchises including The Walking Dead, Invincible and Superfight.
Skybound Games’ capabilities include the publishing, production and worldwide distribution of tabletop games and video games across all genres, including the multimillion-selling The Walking Dead video game series. Skybound Games is also a strategic global marketing and distribution partner of Striking Distance Studios for the highly anticipated survival horror game The Callisto Protocol.
The company will use the capital to increase and accelerate internal development of new TV shows, video games, comics and podcasts, Alpert said, in an email to GamesBeat.
Regarding the metaverse, Alpert said the company has taken steps to engage fans in a meta-experience with The Walking Dead. Last year, the company announced a partnership with The Sandbox to bring The Walking Dead comics to life in the open game metaverse, which has been a big hit.
Skybound also worked with Skydance Interactive to delve into virtual reality with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, a VR game that brought The Walking Dead to VR gamers. And now he’s working on The Walking Dead: Last Mile, which is a massively interactive live event experience (MILE) that’s being built alongside partners Genvid and Pipeworks.
“This is our latest effort to allow fans to immerse themselves in a living, breathing world within The Walking Dead universe to work collaboratively with other fans (or against…your choice) and take decisions that will impact whether characters survive or die in the Alaskan wilderness,” Kirkman said, in an email to GamesBeat. “The world we create in Last Mile is tough. whether it’s the harsh Alaskan winter, hordes of zombies, or other characters you’ve double-crossed, anything can get you killed.
Skybound also launched new properties like Invincible and the Impact Winter podcast.
“Our magic is the depth of creator talent and content we have to build on,” Alpert said.
The company has 108 full-time and part-time employees. And he creates a 200-person animation studio in Burbank, as part of a project led by Marge Dean. Each of the television shows is staffed separately and the company employs
hundreds of writers and artists on comic books and physical merchandise.
Beyond The Walking Dead TV shows, the company sees itself as a fully fleshed-out media content company. The video game publishing group has evolved and grown exponentially and will continue to bring exciting new projects to fans, Goldman said in an email to GamesBeat. The company invests in all areas of the business and continues to grow its creative talent pool while encouraging new projects across all business divisions, including comics, audio and digital programming, television/film production, animation and much more.
“The real juice in our business is discovering new creators, helping them develop special IPs, and then connecting directly with the fan base,” Goldman said in an email to GamesBeat. “The marketing that goes through
TV shows or video games are what everyone sees, but this is actually stage 2. We hope to do a lot more stage 1, where we bring more zombies, superheroes, vampires and more to our fans around the world.
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