Dundee-based Stormcloud gets seven-figure boost from investment arm of games guru 4J Studios

Dundee-based Stormcloud Games has banked a seven-figure boost from the investment arm of 4J Studios, best known for developing Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo games consoles.

The financial backing will enable Stormcloud to develop new games conceived during lockdown.

The firm was founded in 2012 by Frank Arnot, who remains the majority shareholder and has built a dozen-strong team of experienced developers in the decade since its launch. Arnot anticipates that the team will need to grow by about 50 per cent over the next year as development progresses.

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Stormcloud has picked up plaudits for its family-friendly titles, including the Bafta-nominated games based on the bestselling children’s books The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, as well as it award-winning children’s series Paper Zoo, Paper Ocean, and Paper Pets, for which the firm also earned a Bafta nomination.

Stormcloud Games was founded in 2012 by Frank Arnot, who remains the majority shareholder.Stormcloud Games was founded in 2012 by Frank Arnot, who remains the majority shareholder.
Stormcloud Games was founded in 2012 by Frank Arnot, who remains the majority shareholder.

Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl – co-founders of games developer 4J Studios – established Chroma Ventures in March as a means of consolidating their existing investments and to give more structure to future investments.

Chroma channels “flexible capital” into a range of early-stage and established businesses with high-growth potential, particularly data-led businesses and those developing and deploying innovative technology.

Burns, principal, Chroma Ventures, said: “We’ve known Frank and the Stormcloud team for many years now and have followed their recent successes closely.

“Stormcloud has excelled in producing family-friendly games that everyone loves to play. When Frank shared their latest new games ideas with us, we decided that we wanted to help enable him and his team develop them.

“What sets Stormcloud apart is the depth of experience in the team, many of whom have been making games for nearly 30 years. They know instinctively what works and what doesn’t, and they make original content in a style that is distinctly their own. We’re delighted to add Stormcloud to the Chroma Ventures portfolio.”

Arnot, founder of Stormcloud Games, said: “Given the challenges we’ve faced in the past year with the pandemic, it feels particularly good to be part of a wider community of games developers working in similar genres. To be doing so with Chris and Paddy’s support – both financially and practically – is a real bonus.

“Having known each other for years, I think there’s a natural affinity and understanding of what we each bring to the working relationship. I trust and value their opinions – which is why we started talking about this in the first place – and they trust in our team’s ability to do the work and to do it in the right way.”

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Stormcloud joins a Chroma Ventures portfolio that includes another Dundee-based independent games studio in Puny Astronaut, augmented reality (AR) technology company Blippar, cupboard stored ready meal provider Parsley Box, which recently floated on the stock market, and commercial insurance distribution and data platform Broker Insights.

The portfolio also includes a number of indirect holdings through LVP, the venture capital seed fund for the games sector, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) Ventures, the impact investment fund backing mission-led enterprises, and Seedhaus, the pre-seed stage investor.

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