US VC giant a16z backs female-led game studio Lumi Interactive in a record $ 9.76 million Seed round

Andreessen Horowitz’s legendary American VC fund a16z has led a 6.75 million. USD ($ 9.76 million) Seed collection for Australian women’s gaming studio Lumi Interactive.

The oversubscribed round was also supported by 1Up Ventures, Galileo Ventures, Heracles and Double Loop Games founder Emily Greer.

Lumi sees its mission as making the world a friendlier place and plans to use the funds to build the development team, scale its Kinder World game to a global launch and bring the experience to multiple platforms both online and offline.

The startup has tackled the impact of the global pandemic by creating Kinder World, a “crowdhealing” game where players take care of their own unique houseplants by taking care of themselves in the real world and sharing this kindness with other members of community. Its design has been shaped by startup’s in-house wellness researcher, Dr. Hannah C. Gunderman.

A screenshot of the Kinder World app in action

Lumi Interactive co-founder and CEO Lauren Clinnick said it was a new milestone for the gaming industry as one of the biggest seed rounds in Australia.

She said that while the F2P mobile game is still in early access, it has found tremendous support through TikTok, where players describe how traditional mental wellness apps “felt like work” while Kinder World “felt like a hot cup of tea” for their day.

“We are all worn out and tired. In the depths of Melbourne’s long closures, my little team found that nature and compassion made a huge difference in our personal lives and inspired the creation of Kinder World,” she said.

“We call this kind of experience ‘crowdhealing’, where players meet to be kind to themselves and others, and help heal the wider gaming world. Lumi enters a fast-growing and much-needed category for himself.”

a16z general partner James Gwertzman, who led the investment in Lumi, said: “Here, the goal is not to achieve or compete, but rather to slow down, step back and take a much-needed break in mental health.”

Kinder World is in Early Access on Android and iOS now, with a full launch expected by the end of 2022.

Clinnick said Lumi Interactive is currently hiring for several remote-friendly roles, including an Acquisition Manager and Senior Game Designer.