Stage of business: Pre-Seed
Founder: Nilushanan Kulasingham
Current investors: Antler, and super-angel Jason Calacanis
Currently raising: Yes
Whilst gaming has been a mainstream hobby enjoyed by millions across the world since the 70s and 80s, the industry reached new heights globally in terms of spending and user engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Worth $240 billion globally in 2020, the market is set to reach $294 billion in 2024, according to DFAT.
Part of the popularity of modern games, thanks to advances in technology and entertainment, is that users are increasingly becoming part of the characters and storytelling of the gaming worlds they play in through what is called Worldbuilding.
However, sophisticated game design is an expensive and time-consuming process that requires large teams with specialised skills.
Stori exists to democratise game design and make the creative process of building expansive game worlds accessible to more people.
Leveraging advanced AI tools purpose-built for co-creative storytelling and game design, Stori enables small teams and hobbyists to generate lore-consistent game elements like characters, locations, quests and dialogues, allowing for faster, more dynamic story and worldbuilding.
Using the collaborative game design platform, players can simply type in their instructions and it will start creating in seconds.
Antler investment thesis
“Stori is building a solution for a large, fast-growing market that is ripe for disruption,” says Antler Australia Partner James McClure.
“Its AI and NLP technologies provide a strong competitive advantage and barrier to entry. Along with that, these proprietary models and platforms are purpose-built for collaborative storytelling and co-creative game design but could be applied to other creative tools in the future.
“The founder, Nilushanan Kulasingham, has a strong track record in gaming, esports and building digital media companies, and has deep expertise in AI, engineering, product and gaming.”
To date, Stori has attracted 15k monthly active users on its demo product and has more than 3.5k people on its waitlist.
The startup was also a finalist for a16z SPEEDRUN and SXSW’s Sydney Startup Pitch, participated in the AWS Generative AI Accelerator, won the global ImmutableX Hackathon, won both Audience and Judge’s choice at a Fishburners Pitch Night, and won People’s Choice at the Advanced Tech, Web3, and AI Pitch Night by Startup Victoria.
Along with that, Stori has secured a partnership with GAMURS, providing access to an extensive gaming audience to drive growth and network effects.
Stori has also recently been selected for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) GenAI Accelerator, where 10 startups across Australia and New Zealand are immersed in technical training from experienced founders and AWS engineers and receive mentorship from industry leaders in AI and machine learning.
Pre-Seed from Antler and super-angel Jason Calacanis.
Use of funds
Antler’s Pre-Seed investment has helped Stori build its MVP and provide enough financial runway to focus on developing its core technology and platform to reach product-market fit.
The founder says
“Large Language Models have the profound ability to enhance co-creation and co-development of highly complex and divergent storylines. And the ability to respond to new input and morph the narrative around player input allows for major new ways of game design, world building and character creation,” says founder Nilushanan Kulasingham.
“By providing an easy-to-use platform for collaborative storytelling and game design, we aim to empower small teams and individual creators to build the kinds of rich, lore-consistent experiences typically only achieved by much larger teams. We believe that by reducing the cost and complexity of game development, we can enable more creativity, diversity of stories and entrepreneurship in the gaming industry.
“Our vision for Stori is to build the leading co-creative game design platform and marketplace, and ultimately expand beyond gaming into other creative tools and industries.
“Antler has been instrumental in helping us launch and scale Stori in several ways. Antler has provided us with guidance from experienced entrepreneurs, engineers, product managers and more. This has helped us avoid pitfalls, make key strategic decisions and accelerate our progress. The Antler network has provided us with connections to partners like our advisors and early investors interested in our space. These relationships have shaped our success so far.”
Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing all its latest investments made in ambitious Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Stori is one of its most recent portfolio companies.
- StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia.