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Game startup Disruptor Beam collects funding to work on games tied to TV shows

Posted by Scott Kirsner  May 10, 2012 09:11 AM

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Just about two years after I wrote about the creation of a new game development shop, Disruptor Beam, co-founder Jon Radoff tells me the firm raised its first outside capital this week. The money comes from a trio of angels with ties to Harmonix Music Systems, the Cambridge company that created "Rock Band" and "Dance Central," as well as former E Ink chief executive Russ Wilcox.

Radoff didn't want to be specific about how much Disruptor Beam had raised in this seed round, but he did confirm it was less than $1 million.

"We're spending a lot of time thinking about the convergence of tablets, TV, and social gaming," Radoff says, adding that the company has plans to announce its first licensing deal with a television show in the next few weeks.

It sounds like the new funding will allow Disruptor Beam to go from a small firm building games for outside clients to one that creates products of its own. (Disruptor Beam worked with Waltham-based GSN Digital to build "50 Cent's Blackjack" recently, and had built another game for Ayeah Games, a startup that called it quits last year.) Radoff talks about making "story-oriented" games linked to popular TV shows and books, which will allow players to "interact with characters they know and like, and really live in those worlds."

When I spoke with him two years ago, Radoff mentioned that the studio was working on a social game called "Gods of Rock" that would invite players into the world of music superstars. That game never launched. "We never found good partners in the music industry," Radoff says.

Radoff co-founded Disruptor Beam with his wife, Angela. Investors in the seed round include CommonAngels; Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopoulos, CTO Eran Egozy, former COO Mike Dornbrook; and Wilcox. The company operates out of the WorkBar shared space in Boston's Leather District.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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