TinyCo Launches $5 Million Fund To Finance Games From Third-Party Developers

TinyCo, the mobile gaming company Andreessen Horowitz backed in an $18 million round, is launching a $5 million fund to finance iOS and Android titles from third-party developers. Called the TinyFund, the program provides up to $500,000 per title along with marketing, development and business assistance.

TinyCo says it’s not looking to take revenue share from developers and instead says it’s launching the fund to grow its network of games. It also says that developers maintain ownership of their intellectual property. Growing a network of titles would presumably help TinyCo distribute its own in-house games more easily. This is key, especially in an era where incentivized installs — a once reliable and inexpensive way to acquire users — are on their way out on iOS.

On the one hand, it’s not uncommon for many of the larger developers to mix work produced in-house with games that are published on behalf of smaller studios. Glu Mobile regularly creates their own titles while publishing titles from other firms; it secured two deals earlier this quarter to work with author James Frey’s publishing company and Blammo Games, for example. Gamevil’s hit Air Penguin was originally developed by a six-person South Korean studio called Enterfly. This is just a way to mitigate the risks inherent to a hits-driven business.

Yet at the same time, from the perspective of the venture-backed social gaming world, this is more unusual as the largest companies like Zynga have cherry-picked their winners by buying small studios outright instead of merely financing their titles.

TinyCo recently launched two casual sim titles Tiny Nightclub and Tiny Zoo and two other major older titles, Tiny Chef and Tap Resort. It says it has seen more than 20 million downloads across its portfolio.