We said when we founded Antagonist that we want to remain open about everything we do, so it is time to reveal to you some recent developments.
But first, why are we in StartupLab?
We have been part of the StartupLab incubator since January 2014, when we first started developing Through the Woods as part of our Bachelor’s thesis at NITH, which the core team of Antagonist graduated from this past summer. (The school has since merged with two others, and changed its name to Westerdals Oslo ACT.)
Ending up in StartupLab was actually due to a series of events that turned out to be a very good move for us. We were initially planning to do our thesis in cooperation with another established studio. But plans fell through and Antagonist suddenly had less than a month to find our home for the next half a year.
Through our network we had heard about StartupLab as being a great place to kickstart your company, and that they had a friendly attitude towards students with an entrepreneurial drive combined with a passion for what you do.
So we managed to get a meeting with them to pitch our vision for Antagonist, and even though they were used to more traditional tech companies, they must have seen a potential in us, because they let us stay for free during the entire thesis period!
So, what exactly is StartupLab?
StartupLab is one of the newest incubators in Norway, but it’s also the fastest growing and now the largest with over 450 tech companies having applied to join within the last 2 years. Of those only 90 have been accepted in, and currently about 60 of those reside «in the Lab», with Antagonist being part of that family.
They focus on helping entrepreneurs launch their companies by offering reasonably priced office-space, with a lot of services included like access to lawyers, accountants, experienced advisers and more. Being a part of StartupLab means that you more quickly get in touch with the networks that you need to meet to bring your company to the next level. But most importantly is the community around the incubator, it’s such a great family to be a part of, lots of inspiring people who are really passionate about their companies. Which makes going to work every day such a treat (and most nights as well).
Antagonist is growing up as a company
Since the end of the summer we have become proper members of the StartupLab, and one major part in that is paying rent, for both the office and the apartments of our employees, since we’re not students anymore there are a lot of costs to cover. We have no plans to release our game in early access, and the full release is still a while off, so we were forced to acquire funding for Antagonist in some way.
We knew that there was something called the Founders Fund who in many ways appear as StartupLab’s guardian (business) angels. They describe themselves as «early in, early out», and some of the more prominent investors in the fund are Jon Tetzchner (Co-Founder of Opera Software), Trond Aas (Former CEO of Funcom) as well as many others.
So what happened with the Founders Fund?
After we had a few meetings with representatives from the fund, where we detailed our plans for the future and the vision we have for Antagonist, they only needed short time to decide that they want to help us on our journey.
The result of that is they have decided to make us the tenth company that they have invested in so far, which means that we have sold a small part of Antagonist to the Founders Fund. And that we have joined a larger network than what we were before on our own.
What does this mean for our future?
Will we now start making free to play mobile games with lots of in-app purchases instead? Will Through the Woods be riddled with Day One DLC?
The answer is no. The Founders Fund believes in the founders, and by that I mean that they will not interfere with our day to day operations unless we ask them to help us with advice. They now have a vested interest in our success, and will do what they can to help us achieve the goals that we set for ourselves. They bring with them a lot of experience on the aspect of running a business which in turn will allow us more time to focus on producing the best possible games.
We want to be open about every part of our journey and the way we handle things. If you ever have any questions about our practices, feel free to reach out on either email or our forum, we are always listening.