Smith & Tinker raises $29 million for Web toy

Ronny Kerr · August 25, 2009 · Short URL:

Game company to launch online battle system with physical toy come this fall

Discover NanovorI guess it takes an innovative kid’s toy to get the venture capitalists really excited.

Entertainment company Smith & Tinker announced today that it has so far raised $29 million for Nanovor, an online battle game system married with a physical toy—a comprehensive gaming experience—aimed at boys aged eight to 12.

In the spirit of many other classic gaming franchises, like Pokemon, this new game is about collecting, evolving, battling, and trading creatures, in this case, Nanovor (because they’re “nanoscopic”). Friends can submit their creatures to multiplayer combat online or they can have the battle in person, with the $49 handheld Nanoscope, to be released to major toy retailers this October. Additionally, the Nanoscope can be connected to a computer using USB to upload battle statistics, reemphasizing the focus on dual fighting capabilities: online and offline.

Smith & Tinker, whose second round of funding closed in July, is backed by an impressive group of investors: Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, Foundry Group, Alsop Louie Partners, DCM, and Leo Capital Holdings.

Four of the $29 million is to be spent this year on advertising Nanovor and the accompanying Nanoscope product. Smith & Tinker’s investors know that a lot of Nanovor’s long-term success rests on an initially successful launch, in order to make up for large costs for the game. At the same time, investors are very excited about Nanovor because, if it does indeed prove to be a hit, its platform can be replicated many times to host a variety of different games and products, perhaps to be targeted at different age groups.

“With the release of Nanovor, we have put a stake in the ground as the first company to merge the best of a game studio, entertainment shop and toy company all under one roof, and with the sole mission of reinventing play for today’s connected kids,” said Smith & Tinker co-founder Jordan Weisman. There is no reason, should Nanovor prove popular with today’s kids, that its platform would not be used again and again for different and newer games.

This is the biggest roundup of capital for a venture gaming company this year, so this is definitely a company worth watching.

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes