Discovery Bay Games CEO Craig Olson didn’t expect to raise $12 million when he set out on the fundraising trail last December. But the money kept flowing in from angel investors who believed in the company’s vision. And what drove that excitement? Discovery Bay, which started as a traditional board game maker in 2006, is leading the charge with a new set of game accessories built specifically for the iPad and other iOS devices.
As more people turn to tablet computers to play games, Olson thinks there’s a big opportunity to capitalize with entertaining and fun titles. The first of those is called Yoomi, which works with the company’s Duo device to enhance game play.
But others are on the way. Discovery Bay plans to launch three new devices this year under the Duo brand, all of which will have new game titles associated with them that also work in conjunction with the iPad.
Will game players actually want to buy a device (the Duo) that works in conjunction with another device (the iPad)? And aren’t people just satisfied using the touch interface of the iPad?
“We think that the experience with the iPad is wonderful, which explains why it has been so successful and why there are so many apps,” Olson tells GeekWire. “We believe, however, that there is a nice opportunity for a different, enhanced consumer experience with the right devices. So, what we are focused on is trying to build the right set of devices.”
Other competitors are trying to attack the market as well, but Olson said most of those are currently in development. Hasbro introduced 3-D glasses for the iPhone, but that’s about the only other device currently available for sale.
Because Discovery Bay is building actual devices, the business requires more capital than some traditional software or Internet businesses.
Nonetheless, it is a bit unusual to see a $12 million round supported just by angel investors. Olson said he was pleased with the response, but he declined to say who was backing the company. The latest funding was first reported by TechFlash.
“We didn’t expect to raise this much,” said Olson, who prior to founding Discovery Bay worked as an investment banker and co-founded Rivals.com.
Discovery Bay, which employs about 35 people, previously raised about $3 million. The company continues to sell traditional board games, including titles such as Saturday Night Live: The Game, Guesstimation, Two Bridges and Call-It!
“Increasingly, our revenue will be derived from this new category that we’ve created,” said Olson, who calls the category iPad game accessories.
Discovery Bay started developing titles before the iPad was even introduced.
“We saw the iPad as a revelation for potential content delivery for traditional board game experiences, so we began at that point to develop in this area,” Olson said. We still think that the traditional board game is a great business, but we also feel that as game experts we have an unique advantage to develop content for tablets.”