Immersive Games Lab, a new venture from Tough Mudder co-founder and Chairman Will Dean, has picked up around £2.5 million in seed funding, TechCrunch has learned. According to sources, London-based Index Ventures has led the round.
In a call confirming the close, Dean told me Sweet Capital, and JamJar Investments (the VC fund set up by the 3 Innocent Drinks founders) also participated.
Developing the “next generation” of immersive group gaming, Immersive Games Lab describes itself as “part indoor theme park, part video game, part escape room” and says it will launch a new breed of “captivating group experiences” in London in early 2019.
Little else is known regarding what Immersive Games Lab’s first experience will be, although Dean told me it will be sold in retail spaces, in ticket form, and will be a blend of technology and in-person group activity. It is currently being prototyped and tested in a warehouse in North London.
More broadly, he said the idea of creating a new kind of immersive gaming experience is partly based on the sentiment that we spend too much screen time on our devices, consuming social media in a way that isn’t always good for our mental health.
His previous and hugely successful venture Tough Mudder was all about creating a new, fun experience around exercise — and ultimately helping people become more physically active. Dean says he is keen for Immersive Games Lab to also make a positive dent on people’s lives.
The new venture also builds nicely on Dean’s track record of creating an experience and community-led consumer proposition — and implementing the type of go-to market strategy that requires. Which is undoubtedly what caught the interest of Index and other investors, in what I understand was an oversubscribed round.
Immersive Games Lab’s other co-founder is David Spindler, who also played a key role at Tough Mudder.