LA-Based Mobile Gaming Startup Carbonated Raises $8.5M

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

LA-Based Mobile Gaming Startup Carbonated Raises $8.5M

Carbonated, Inc., an El Segundo-based mobile gaming studio, announced Friday it raised $8.5 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Golden Ventures and Bitkraft Esports Ventures Management.

Founded in 2015, the company develops competitive multiplayer games for cell phones using AI and a live-ops platform they've built called "Carbyne." The technology, its CEO said, makes mobile the gaming experience easier — even when using one hand.


"The challenge historically has been most hardcore games aren't natively designed for mobile (i.e., lots of buttons and virtual d-pads)," Carbonated co-founder and CEO Travis Boatman wrote on Medium. Before creating Carbonated, he and co-founder Lloyd Tulles worked on mobile games including Zynga Poker, Sims Free Play and Simpsons Tapped Out.

"The reason we started the company was that as folks with busy lives and living rooms, we missed playing hardcore competitive games on console and PC," Boatman wrote. "We realized pretty quickly that we're not the only ones and there's a huge underserved market which continues to grow as younger core gamers age up and enter the workforce, like we did."

Boatman said the company is developing mobile technology to target this demographic. They've been working closely with Amazon Game Tech since demoing pieces of Carbyne at Amazon's Game Developers Conference booth in 2019, he said.

The startup has yet to announce a release date for its first project, Madworld, a combat game set in a dystopian world.

Other angel investors and advisors of this recent funding round include Mark Pincus, Kent Wakeford, Shanti Bergel and Chris Ye.

"Our partner criteria has always been more than just purely financial," Boatman wrote. "We look for people with deep industry experience who are willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in. We're thrilled to have partners like that around the table who believe in our team and mission."

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S.C. Stuart
S.C. Stuart is a foreign correspondent (ELLE China, Esquire Latin America), Contributing Writer at Ziff Davis PCMag, and consults as a futurist for Hollywood Studios. Previously, S.C. was the head of digital at Hearst Magazines International while serving as a Non-Executive Director, UK Trade & Investment (US) and Digital Advisor at The Smithsonian.
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