StartPlaying has raised $6.5 million to help tabletop players acquire the skill of the Dungeon Masters.
The San Francisco family has established an online platform to assist players in finding tabletop roleplaying games to join and lease professional Game Masters.
It may be a geeky endeavor, but it says a lot that Andreessen Horowitz, one of the best game investors, chose to lead the round by his general partners Jonathan Lai and Andrew Chen.
In an interview with GamesBeat, the funds will go towards expanding marketing to reach new players, bolstering the StartPlayings network of industry partnerships and hiring top talent. According to Nate Tucker, the company''s CEO, the organization intends to double the teams size by the end of the year.
According to Tucker, we are investing in assembling a world-class team. We believe this will be the foundation for maintaining StartPlayings'' momentum.
In a blog post, Lai said that more than 40 million people playD&D around the world and that sales have increased by double-digitpercentages for the last five years. No longer a fringe hobby,D&Dfeatures are prominently embedded inmainstreamandcelebrityculture.
A16z''s investment in the platform predicts the incorporation of such games into the mainstream and the establishment of a professional platform for highly trained players.
Beyond building a user base, this is also about community, according to Devon Chulick, a cofounder. Whether it''s helping Game Masters and players find each other, or by working with industry partners, the game was proud to have the opportunity to mute people through the powers of games.
StartPlaying has hosted over 100,000 games from over 1,000 professional Game Masters on the platform for $2.5 million and counting. StartPlaying''s continued growth leads to a demand for professional Game Masters and an evergreen interest in tabletop RPG games. Near half of all new users who have joined StartPlaying have never played the game.
Chulick of the tabletop roleplaying community is at its finest when its inclusive. We want StartPlaying to continue to eliminate barriers for new players.
Players may play games based on their genre preferences, play style, whether they are looking for a one-and-done session or a long-term campaign, and filter based on their schedule. StartPlaying is a multibillion-dollar organization that helps build up a comfortable environment for all players.
According to Tucker, we are investing in building a world-class team. We believe this will be the foundation for maintaining StartPlayings momentum.
At the beginning of the epidemic, the start was derived from a common problem around March 2020.
Tucker said that my friend (Jared Gollhardt) and I had a problem finding a Game Master online to run a Dungeons and Dragons game for us. We found one. We looked through a few Discord channels, this one spot called D&D Beyond, and they had a forum where we shared, which was ardent. We were still unable to find one.
Two people were eventually discovered, and one of them was completely debunked. The other one asked them to submit a one-page document reaffirming why the Game Master should take the job.
Because it was awfully awkward. Tucker said that when COVID happened, we found out that the in-person stuff stopped. So we met with a few people who had websites that used to do in-person, Dungeons & Dragons. We were pretty confident that we might do a better job of what was currently on the internet, including Discord and Reddit and custom forums.
Chulick, who was once known as the San Francisco Dungeon Master, was eventually discovered and reached out to him. He became a cofounder as they decided to establish a company to fulfil this demand. They soon met a total of 30 people who could manage their Game Master duties. They eventually established a platform for matchmaking players into online games with certified Game Masters in a variety of roles.
Tucker said that the payers who pay for generally speaking are a good host. They need someone who manages the group, ensures that people are coming on time, and is willing to run the session. For the most part, people are simply paying for a nice professional host to go ahead and assist them in playing these games.
The company became involved in the first phase of development and conceived a platform for group of players. They must be able to adapt.
The team has now grown to six people. The majority of players who come to the site are individual individuals, looking to learn and find others to play with.
According to Tucker, everything we needed to do in response to this idea of people coming as individuals, combining them together in groups and then collaborating with Game Masters was reimagined.
The participants received money in a small angel round and started working. Most players enjoy sessions for two to four hours. Players will engage in campaigns that last for several sessions or days. Some of the campaigns can even last for hundreds of sessions.
Today, around 600 Game Masters are playing on the site on a weekly basis. Many of them play D&D, but they have expanded beyond that. Some users enjoy watching Twitch streams. Game Masters set their own price of $15 or $20 per person per session.
According to Tucker, the vast majority of people are playing on the internet.
The commitment was slugging in to draw the interest of investors.