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Lumi Interactive is announcing a $6.75M seed investment, led by a16z. 1Up Ventures, Galileo Ventures and Heracles Capital also participated in the round. Double Loop Games boss Emily Greer also participated as an angel investor.
The oversubscribed seed round is the largest venture capital investment into a female-founded game studio in Australia. The studio is the developer behind Kinder World, a free mobile game which lets players take care of virtual houseplants by performing real-world mindfulness tasks.
“Lumi is stepping into a fast growing, and much needed, category of their own,” said a16z’s James Gwertzman. “Here, the goal is not to achieve or compete, but rather to slow down, step back and take a much needed mental health break.”
The funds will be used to pursue Lumi Interactive’s mission to make the world a kinder place. Lumi Interactive plans to grow its development team and scale Kinder World for a significant global launch. The studio wants to bring the Kinder World experience to more platforms, both online and offline.
So what is Kinder World, and what is ‘crowdhealing’
Kinder World asks players to engage in evidence-based self-care activities. Lumi Interactive employs a full-time wellbeing researcher, a Dr. Hannah C. Gunderman, whose work is what informs the different activities within the game. The entire game is based on her concept of ‘crowdhealing’, and once players take care of their own emotional wellbeing they’re gently pushed to reach out to other players.
The idea is that these acts of ‘kindfulness’ will improve both individual player wellbeing, and at the same time the wellbeing of the entire community.
“These past few years have been anything but kind,” said Lumi Interactive boss Lauren Clinnick, in a statement to GamesBeat. “But even in the depths of Melbourne’s long lockdowns, my small team saw how everyday acts of compassion, to ourselves and others, could make the world seem like a kinder place.”
Kinder World has sort of blown up on TikTok, attracting an audience of mostly women and non-binary people. Lumi Interactive is capitalizing on the boost in popularity to work with fans on development of the game. Thanks to their input Lumi Interactive is able to make sure the game doesn’t just feel like pointless busywork.
Kinder World is available on iOS and Android, and is expecting a full launch in late 2022.
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