Game startup MinoMonsters Inc. has secured $1 million from a pool of investors that includes Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Yuri Milner, General Catalyst, Ignition Partners, Raymond Tonsing and Alexis Ohanian. Additionally, TJ Murphy has joined chief executive officer Joshua Buckley as co-founder and president to lead the game’s development and technology strategy.
The funding enabled MinoMonsters to open its office in San Francisco, and will go towards expanding its team and completing the fledgling company’s flagship title MinoMonsters, a battle and trading game for iPhone and iPod touch devices.
Buckley does not yet have a track record, which is unsurprising since he is not yet 20 years old. Murphy was formerly product manager at Zynga, creator of the social game, Warbook, and co-founder of the social gaming platform Social Gaming Network.
MinoMonsters is designed to inspire people to play with their friends by making it easy to connect and share the game, a quality that that company said is lacking in existing mobile titles. The action takes place in a cinematic, secret world of pet monsters, and players need to win the trust of their captured monsters by feeding and otherwise caring for them, and then must strategize how best to use their special powers to win battles. If the game lives up to its billing, the potential for merchandising, animated programs and other uses of the intellectual property is obvious.
The company is aware of the Pokémon parallels but said its visual artistry, emotional heart and use of the most current technologies mean that MinoMonsters recaptures that magic while creating a unique and engaging experience for today’s audience and usage patterns.
“MinoMonsters presents the opportunity to change mobile gaming forever. The extraordinary team over at Mino HQ has built a title that combines deep emotional engagement with the joy of mobile gaming … a perfect mix,” said David Lee, founding managing partner, SV Angel. “We see tremendous opportunities in the mobile games market and this is why we are fully vested in what they are doing.”
Each of the monsters has its own personality, and the gameplay is suited to mobile, with short sequences that can be completed in a short amount of time while players are taking a break or waiting for something.
“I’ve worked on a variety of blockbuster social titles such as CityVille, FarmVille and FrontierVille in my career, but once I met with Josh to talk about his ideas for MinoMonsters, I knew this company had the potential to change the mobile games industry,” said TJ Murphy, president of MinoMonsters. “It is not very often that something comes along that truly has the potential to reinvent a genre and become part of today’s pop culture. I am thrilled to be a part of this world class team.”
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I am not a fan of Y Combinator – it’s like an equity land grab without much care for the company or the end product.