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SockMonkey Studios doubles staff numbers following NPIF investment

Middlesbrough-based games developer, SockMonkey Studios, has seen its staff numbers double over the past year as it seeks to grow its suite of original games.

SockMonkey Studios secured £250,000 of investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in June 2020, which enabled it to launch a demo version of its first original game, Fish Tanks.

In addition to this, SockMonkey has more than doubled the size of its team from 17 to 37 and moved to a larger office in Middlesbrough town centre. With a focus on the growth of its marketing, art and animation teams in particular, the organisation has experienced record-breaking turnover this year, and is on track to grow this further in 2022.

Following the success of the Fish Tanks demo, the business is now looking to secure a publishing deal to expand its original game offering, in addition to working with game developer Sumo Digital and global indie games developer, tinyBuild, on other projects over the next year. With these partnerships on the horizon, SockMonkey Studios is well placed to expand its team and client base in the coming years.

The growth and innovation shown by the business has led to multiple award wins at this year’s Tees Tech Awards, with CEO Bob Makin winning ‘Business Leader of the Year’ and co-founder and Director of Business Development Darren Falcus winning the ‘Unsung Hero’ award.

SockMonkey was founded in 2013 by Darren Cuthbert and Bob Makin, who were later joined by Darren Falcus. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, Falcus co-founded Optimus Software – one of the first video game studios in Teesside -which was later sold to US publishing giant Acclaim Entertainment.

 Bob Makin, CEO and co-founder at SockMonkey Studios, said: “We’ve rapidly built up our team over the last year and we’ve grown so much as a business already, with an exciting future ahead.

“As we continue to scale our team, we will remain focused on supporting the local community in Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley region. We work closely with Teesside University to provide internships in the region and, with the help of partners like NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, we will continue to boost growth in the region.”

Daniel Thomas at Mercia said: “SockMonkey is an exciting, growing studio with a reputation for high-quality work. The company has a strong pipeline of projects and has identified exciting opportunities for its strategic growth story. We are delighted by its performance over the last year and look forward to working with the team as they continue to expand SockMonkey in the fast-growing gaming sector.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “SockMonkey Studios has demonstrated how transformative investment and business support can be. It is good to see how the organisation is driving innovation, developing skills and supporting jobs in the Tees Valley region.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.