Ouya, a Los Angeles-based startup whose Android-based games console attracted a lot of attention, not to mention money, from a better than anticipated Kickstarter campaign, recently raised $15 million, this time from venture capitalists.
Led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the round included participation from the Mayfield Fund, Nvidia, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners.
As part of the deal, Kleiner Perkins general partner and former Electronic Arts executive Bing Gordon will join its board of directors, advising on retail strategy, product development and game developer community support.
The company features an Android-based gaming system that plugs into a TV and costs $99, giving it a competitive edge against other game consoles like Xbox and Sony PlayStation. Ouya features a built in store for downloading games as well as an extensive developer community. All games are free to try.
At the onset, investors had serious doubts, and the company struggled for a long time to raise a Series A. It took an extremely successful and record breaking Kickstarter campaign to quell their fears. Ouya launched its Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $1 million, but ended up with $8.6 million, nine times what it originally asked for. The company received 63,000 backers despite not having an actual product yet.
“That definitely took the ‘is there interest from consumers’ question off the table,” Mayfield Fund’s Tim Chang told the Wall St. Journal. “That flipped the bit for investors. What got me more excited was the interest from the developer community.”
And the company has still yet to place a product on the market. The original release data had been scheduled for June 4, but has since been pushed back to June 25.
It does, however, have sizable distribution channels, with nationwide retailers including Target, Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon waiting to launch the product.
But as even Chang pointed out, interest and hype alone does not make a successful gaming company.
“Anyone can launch an Android box, but not many have the chops to build a developer ecosystem around it, ranging from indie to known publishers and brand,” Chang told the Wall St. Journal. “That’s the real special sauce; it’s the software platform side, not the fact that you can quickly launch a box.”
Will Android powered games compete on the same TV set as popular games like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed? Ouya clearly has the attention of investors, but only time will tell if the gaming community will follow through on its Kickstarter jumpstart.