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Teesside games studio raises £250,000 to launch its first title

Sockmonkey Studios has secured a £250,000 investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) to fund that launch of its first game.

The Middlesbrough-based game developer was founded in 2013 by Darren Cuthbert and Bob Makin, who were later joined by Darren Falcus.

Darren Falcus co-founded one of the first video game studios on Teesside – Optimus Software – which went on to be sold to US publisher, Acclaim Entertainment.

Sockmonkey has seen rapid growth in 2019, with a 50 per cent increase in headcount.

The company recently adapted the popular PC game Deliver Us The Moon for PlayStation 4 and Xbox one, as well as developing the Nintendo Switch version of Prison Architect.

The NPIF investment, which is managed by Mercia Equity Finance, will enable Sockmonkey to bring Fish Tanks, it’s first original game, to market this summer.

It will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and mobile phone platforms.

Currently employing 18 staff, the studio is using the investment to roll out a phased growth plan, creating a dozen new jobs by the end of this year, and almost tripling its staff numbers to 50 by 2021 in order to support growing demand.

SockMonkey will also receive practical support from Mercia’s games expert Ron Ashtiani, the former CEO of Sumo Group’s Atomhawk business, who has been appointed as chair.

Bob Makin, CEO, said: “Having created many hits for other games companies, we are excited to now be launching our first original title later this year, and have additional games already at the prototype stage.

“With the next generation of video games consoles due to be released by the end of 2020, there’s no better time to create a ‘superstudio’ and put SockMonkey – and the wider Tees Valley games development community – on the map.

“This funding, along with Mercia’s knowledge of the games industry, will help us to do that.”

Simon Crabtree of Mercia added: “SockMonkey is a successful studio with a talented and ambitious team.

“Developing its own games will allow it to benefit from ongoing royalities and add value to the business.

“With the gaming sector continuing to grow rapidly, it bodes well for the future of the company and the Teesside games industry.”