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Skybound Entertainment, 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-up participation from Com2uS and Skydance Entertainment. Skybound entertainment is home to acclaimed franchises including The Walking Dead, Invincible and Impact Winter.
“There is nothing more powerful than storytelling, and I am delighted that Hiro has been able to invest in Skybound Entertainment, creators and curators of highly immersive omniverses. As someone who has killed countless zombies in tabletop and video games over the years, I feel like Robert and I are like-minded ghosts,” Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Hiro Capital, said in a statement.
Livingstone, who was recently knighted, is one of the founders of games in the UK. He co-founded Games Workshop in 1975 and launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. He created the Fighting Fantasy game books in 1982, which have sold over 17 million copies to date. He was also instrumental in Eidos and the creation of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Skybound brings creators together in its multifaceted business, including comics, interactive games, audio, film and television (traditional and digital platforms), licensing and merchandising. Skybound has successfully franchised some of its largest intellectual property 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 Invincible comic book series is also in production for Seasons 2 and 3 after a critically acclaimed and successful debut in the first season through an exclusive partnership with Amazon Prime.
“We are delighted to have Hiro join the family and welcome Ian to the board. This investment will help us accelerate the evolution of existing hit franchises, as well as new content for our fan base around the world,” said Skybound CEO David Alpert, on behalf of presidents Robert Kirkman and business partner Jon Goldman, in a statement.
Founded in 2010, Skybound is a multi-platform content company that works closely with creators and their intellectual properties, extending their stories to other platforms, including comics, television, film, table and video games, books, digital content, events, and much more. Lake. The company is home to acclaimed global franchises, including The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Superfight.
Skybound Games capabilities include publishing, production and worldwide distribution for tabletop and video games across all genres, including the multi-million dollar unit 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 in-house development of new TV shows, video games, comics and podcasts, Alpert said in an email to GamesBeat.
As for the metaverse, Alpert said the company has taken steps to engage fans in a The Walking Dead meta experience. Last year, the company announced a partnership with The Sandbox to bring The Walking Dead comics to life in the open gaming metaverse, which was a huge success.
Skybound also teamed up with Skydance Interactive to delve into virtual reality with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, a VR game that brought The Walking Dead to VR players. And now it’s working on The Walking Dead: Last Mile, a massive interactive live event (MILE) being built with partners Genvid and Pipeworks.
“This is our latest effort to let fans jump into a living, breathing world in The Walking Dead universe to team up with other fans (or against…your choice) and make decisions that affect the question whether characters will survive or die in the Alaskan wilderness,” Kirkman said in an email to GamesBeat. “The world we create in Last Mile is hard. Whether it’s the harsh Alaskan winter, or hordes of zombies, or other characters cheating on you, anything can kill you.”
Skybound has also launched new properties such as Invincible and the Impact Winter podcast.
“Our magic is the depth of the creative talent and content we have available to build around,” Alpert said.
The company has 108 people who work full-time and part-time. And it’s creating a 200-person animation studio in Burbank, in a project led by Marge Dean. Each of the TV programs is staffed separately and the company has
hundreds of writers and artists on comic books and physical merchandise.
In addition to The Walking Dead TV shows, the company sees itself as a fully fledged media content company. Video game publishing has evolved and grown exponentially and will continue to provide fans with new and exciting projects, Goldman said in an email to GamesBeat. The company invests in all areas of the business and builds its talent for creators, while driving new projects across all business divisions, including comics, audio and digital programming, TV/film production, animation and more.
“The real work in our business is discovering new creators, helping them nurture special IPs, and then connect directly with the fanbase,” Goldman said in an email to GamesBeat. “The commercialization that takes place through
TV shows or video games is what everyone sees, but it’s actually step 2. We hope to do a lot more step 1, bringing more zombies, superheroes, vampires and the like to our fans around the world.”
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