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July 9, 2020
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The most important thing is not to die- the story of IMGNATION Studios

by Kadri Ugand on 05/13/16 01:45:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


IMGNATION Studios is a game studio from Brazil developing VR titles. Their journey began already in 2007 and by today they are working with the biggest names in the industry. This is Orlando’s story:

As soon as we opened the studio, we started doing outsource for other people’s games. A lot of objects for hidden object games for 5 usd per piece. It kept us in business, but did not make us rich and led to three out of four founders leaving in 2009. Cannot stop…

Found a new co-founder, now the new team was pushing out prototypes and sending them to publishers. Chillingo liked one and we started developing it. 6 more months turned into 15 months and we had no revenue. After launch the game was not working- 0.5m downloads and no revenue. This was the second time the company was bankrupt. Have to keep pushing…

Started going to game events and discovered I knew nothing about the start-up world. ROI, KPI and all of these abbreviations were new to me. Next conference with the big guys, I was ready, I had learned all the terms, I spoke their language. I found out fast that network is one of the most important things for a small studio. Our new network led us to Samsung, Sony and Rovio making it the new start. We started porting our small games to Gear VR, But nobody was buying it- there was no market, so bankruptcy no 3. Keep walking…

Suddenly Rovio, who we met at an event 1 year before, asked us to make VR for them. 2 VR experiences for Rovio gave us the possibility to associate ourselves to a big brand, make us a team that had finished a VR experience and also gave us some budget. Then came GameFounders and we could start working on VR for real- we reached out to all major hardware platforms and took it from there. We learned to look at people as people, they are not the positions they hold. Talking to mentors, engaging, asking questions gives you great power. We ventured on to Boost VC, the virtual reality accelerator in the bay area. We grew our network immensely and learned a lot.

Silicon Valley is looking for unicorns, but it is ok to be a cockroach and survive the nuclear winter. We have the Golden Cockroach Award to show for it.

Many statements and ideas are inspired by Orlando Fonseca Junior, co-founder of IMGNATION Studio the fabulous alumni of GameFounders.

To apply for GameFounders, go to

GameFounders is a startup accelerator and pre-seed fund working exclusively with game studios. Established in 2012, GameFounders started its operations in a hub in Europe, Estonia and in 2015 expanded with opening a hub in Malaysia to cover Asia. GameFounders selects its portfolio studios from a global pool with applications from 75 countries so far. The best 10 teams move to the GameFounders hub for 3 months and go through a mentoring program giving them a boost to build their business. The teams will also have access to a wide array of partnership deals, small investment and a network of mentors. As of mid 2016 GameFounders has made 46 investments in studios from 22 countries.

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