Seattle gaming mainstays raise cash for new mobile studio Starform

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The co-founders of the Seattle mobile gaming company Z2, which was acquired by Candy Crush-maker King four years ago, have raised cash for their new startup.

Starform raised a $1.25 million round. The startup aims to bring together small teams of game developers and arm them with tools, infrastructure and support to design and build games.

The company is working on a platform that lets developers quickly prototype features so they can get them to the testing phase faster. Social and connected features that encourage collaborative play are a point of emphasis for Starform.

Right now, the startup doesn’t have any external customers and is experimenting with and testing the platform internally.

Starform leaders plan to work closer with players than they ever have in their career. The company wants to have a “real relationship with players that goes beyond the traditional customer service-oriented thinking in our space,” Starform CEO Lou Fasulo told GeekWire.

“We’re excited to work with our investors, a group of industry veterans that share the same viewpoint on how players, communities and platforms are rapidly evolving,” Fasulo said. “We believe that the best games are forged in the crucible of player feedback. We view players as an extension of our team, and we see exciting new ways to play emerging from that collaboration.”

Fasulo is joined by co-founders Josh Rosen, Taylor Daynes and Jason English. Several of them worked at King for a few years, after it acquired Z2. Starform has six employees.

Originally, Z2 aimed to be the “Xbox Live of mobile,” Fasulo said, before later pivoting to focus on games. The company went on to produce hits including Battle Nations and Metal Storm. Its games brought in more than $200 million globally.

Starform representatives wouldn’t say how much the company has raised to date. Its investors include gaming venture capital firm Play Ventures, Breakaway Growth Fund and 1Up Ventures, founded by Xbox Co-Creator Ed Fries.

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