Thursday, October 17, 2013

We Closed Our Seed Round. Thank you!

In August, Flow State Media closed its seed round of funding.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the people that helped make this possible.  It was our first attempt at fundraising, so it was fraught with its own set of challenges, but due in large part to the good people that helped us out, we were able to close the round within 3 months and focus on making great games.

First off, I'd like to thank our investors.  They are putting their faith in our team that we can deliver on our promise to make great games and make a big splash in the game industry.  We fully intend to do just that.  I would especially like to thank my very earliest investors, as without their early commitments, closing the rest of the round would have been very difficult.

Secondly, I'd like to thank my MIT, Penn, and even high school colleagues that either invested themselves or made introductions on my behalf to investors.  They were responsible for roughly 75% of the round, so I can sincerely vouch for the value of an education!  My fellow alumni were absolutely clutch, and I thank them for that.

The entrepreneurial spirit at MIT played a significant role in my decision to start Flow State.  By either attracting entrepreneurs or giving students the confidence to strike out on their own, the start-up friendly culture gives students important tools to succeed and provides a world-class network.  From that network, I've met a number of inspirational entrepreneurs that have proven to the world that successful companies can grow from small, two-person start-ups.  Here's a few.

The first one I'd like to mention is Bong Koh (@bong).  I actually first met Bong when we were teenagers, when our mutual friend Adam K. introduced us.  Naturally, as teenage males, we played Street Fighter II to kill the time.  Bong's Ryu was strong.  A dozen years later, I would bump into Bong when I was visiting MIT Sloan.  He was graduating, I was headed in.  By that time, Bong had already sold a company to Qualcomm, just a few years out of Yale undergrad.  He had showed us that the start-up path was something very real if you were smart and worked your butt off, and I appreciated seeing that very early on.

I'd also like to thank Elizabeth Yin, co-founder of LaunchBit.  She's super, super nice, and super, super smart, and growing in notoriety among start-up communities on the East and West Coast.  She answered numerous questions I had about getting started, incorporating my company, and getting introductions to investors.  And she knows the email newsletter universe down cold.  So thanks for all the help EY!

Brian Shin (@brianshin) is just a beast of an entrepreneur.  He's raised around a bazillion dollars, and is currently CEO of Visible Measures, CEO of Viewable Media, and Chairman of MustBin.  He was just always on a crazy trajectory and he's just kept on going.  He's living proof of being a bad-ass, successful entrepreneur, and it's inspiring stories like his that pushes other entrepreneurs to go even further.

My last MIT shout-out goes out to Tony Chen.  He was very kind in the earliest days of Flow State, willing to meet up with me to talk about fundraising strategies, reviewing my presentations, and generally being incredibly helpful in getting Flow State in the right direction.  Thanks TC!

Of course, I have to thank the Flow State Media team.  Without the early work of Red and Harold to get our live crosswords game "Letter UP" released, I'm not sure Flow State would have been successful in closing our round.  Their contribution was enormous.  "Krazy" Joe, Aaron, and Rommel have also played a huge part in getting Flow State Media to where it is today.  I wholeheartedly look forward to working with this extremely talented team and make something amazing.

Finally, I'd like to thank my family for making all this possible.  My parents have only lived entrepreneurial lives, always managing some type of business in order to support us and pay for our education.  I think they liked it when I told them I was just doing the same thing they had done for us: start my own business!

And last, but the exact opposite of least, I'd like to thank my beautiful wife.  She has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process, from deciding to leave Zynga to start my business (the same year we were planning our wedding!), to giving great suggestions about how we should improve in our games.  She's really good at games (Candy Crush level 356 WITHOUT paying, routinely beats me at Tetris Battle), knows what our audience will like, and has extremely shrewd business sense.  I feel like I can discuss any aspect of my business with her and I do.  I'm very grateful that we are actively making Flow State great together.  So to my wonderful wife, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

It's already been a terribly rewarding experience, and I'm so excited about the future of Flow State.  Thank you, everyone!

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