Electronic Arts entrepreneur Trip Hawkins nets $6.5 million for new venture

Gaming start-up If You Can Company, which has a development set up in London, has raised $6.5 million of new funding to help with growth.

Silicon Valley investors Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz are coming together with angels to back the potential of gaming veteran Trip Hawkins.

The entrepreneur, who set up gaming company Electronic Arts in 1982, has set up If You Can Company to produce games aimed at teaching children social and emotional learning.

If You Can Company’s new Series A $6.5 million round comes in the same week that the start-up launched its first iPad game – a chapter-based adventure game called ‘IF’.

The capital goes alongside the $2.8 million it netted in May 2013 as part of a seed funding round.

Joining Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz in the deal are Founder’s Fund and Maveron. As part of the investment, David Sze of Greylock Partners will be joining the gaming start-up’s board of directors.

Commenting on the new deal, Hawkins says, ‘Almost every school-aged kid plays games and research shows that playing video games opens the “learning centres” in children’s brains.

‘We have brought together some of the most successful video game creators in history with national experts in SEL [social-emotional learning] to harness this potential and use a game to teach children life skills to thrive in school and out of school.’

The research Hawkins points to, based on work carried out by the US state of Illinois and The Nueva School, suggests that social and emotional learning can be taught and can help students not only learn in school, but also develop them into ‘happier, healthier children.’

Alongside the start-up’s London development base, the commercial headquarters are found in California.

New board member Sze adds, ‘We always look to invest in companies with a strong team and an innovative product that is solving a real problem; Trip Hawkins and the rest of the company have this in spades.

‘We are proud to be part of the If You Can journey as they pioneer a new learning model for apps and education.’

As well as setting up Electronic Arts in the 1980s, Hawkins also co-founded Digital Chocolate.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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