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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Ex-Disney Execs’ Candle Media Buys Social Media Company ATTN: for $100M

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Ex-Disney Execs’ Candle Media Buys Social Media Company ATTN: for $100M
Photo provided by ATTN:

Candle Media, the firm run by ex-Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has bought social media creative company ATTN: for $100 million.

Los Angeles-based ATTN: (pronounced “attention”) produces content geared toward Gen Z and Millennial viewers. The company has created original series for Facebook, TikTok, and Twitch, as well as TV networks like ABC and NBC, and streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. Launched in 2014, ATTN:’s brand studio and creative agency has also worked with Amazon, Ford and Google, among others.

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Marijuana and the Metaverse: How LA Cannabis Startups Are Lighting Up the Virtual Realm

Nick Kazden
Nick Kazden is a freelance writer who lives and writes in Los Angeles.
Marijuana and the Metaverse: How LA Cannabis Startups Are Lighting Up the Virtual Realm
Image courtesy of Crypto Cannabis Club

With West Hollywood becoming a hub for cannabis consumption lounges and many Silicon Beach companies embracing virtual reality, it was only a matter of time before two of Los Angeles’ two burgeoning industries started mingling.

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The Rise of Ad-Supported Streaming Is Challenging How the Business Is Traditionally Done

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

The Rise of Ad-Supported Streaming Is Challenging How the Business Is Traditionally Done
Netflix and Google Are Poised to Dominate L.A. After the Pandemic

Are the upfronts turning into TV execs’ personal “Black Mirror'' episode?

The annual feeding frenzy—in which C-suite television executives auction off highly-viewed (and costly) advertising time slots— is changing as new streaming behemoths shake up the market. The event often gives viewers and industry watchers insight on what shows are poised to become cultural phenomena, but that too seems to be disrupted at this year’s proceedings.

It’s been two years since major networks and television players convened in New York for a week, and it’s clear that technology is going to change a lot about how the process works.

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