Scriptic (formerly ElectricNoir), a London-based studio developing a dynamic catalogue of interactive phone-first shows and pioneering creative applications of generative AI in entertainment, announced that it has raised €5.2 million in a second close of its Seed round. The round was led by BITKRAFT Ventures with participation from Tower 26 and the Amazon Alexa Fund, as well as additional and returning investors.
The funding brings the company’s total seed round to €7.5 million, following an initial investment of €2.3 million from Vgames, Moonfire, and angel investors including Unity founder David Helgason and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. The investment will be used to develop and significantly expand Scriptic’s content pipeline, and onboard a community of external writers to the company’s AI-led creator service to build, share, and monetise their own stories.
Scriptic was founded in 2018 by Nihal Tharoor (CEO) and Benedict Tatham (Chief Creative Officer), who saw a latent opportunity in the entertainment space: immersive, phone-first interactive shows that sit at the intersection of film and games, and put audiences in control of the action. The company’s phone-first approach makes content efficient to produce, easily scalable, and highly accessible for consumers.
Nihal Tharoor, CEO and co-founder of Scriptic, says: “We created Scriptic with the aim of entertaining the world with stories that reflect our ever-changing digital lives. By bringing together a hugely talented creative team, our proprietary tech offering and a host of cutting-edge generative AI technologies, we’ve been able to create immersive stories that really resonate with audiences, purpose-built for the most interactive medium there is – our phones. Today’s funding, from an incredible cast of new and returning investors, will empower us to pursue our vision of becoming the ‘Roblox of narrative’. We’re excited about building out our pipeline of interactive shows across new and existing IPs, opening up our community for user-generated content, and taking the next step in our ambitious company journey.”
The blend of traditional gaming and visual storytelling has proven successful with mainstream audiences as well as gamers. For the company’s BAFTA-nominated Dead Man’s Phone, 80% of players identify as true crime fans rather than gamers. In the show, which was recently re-released as the highly popular Scriptic: Crime Stories on Netflix as part of the streaming service’s games offering, players become the lead detective in a gritty crime drama, solving murders through victims’ smartphones.
The company has also launched a number of episodic and short-form titles across a range of genres through its proprietary Scriptic app, which has reached 1.5 million organic installs across Apple and Android to date.
Malte Barth, Founding General Partner at BITKRAFT Ventures, will join Scriptic’s board as part of the investment. He says: “At BITKRAFT Ventures, we firmly believe in Scriptic’s vision of bringing live-action interactive entertainment to GenZ and Millennial audiences through smartphones. By providing users with a true sense of agency by shaping their own interactive narratives, Scriptic redefines the boundaries of immersive experiences and interactive storytelling leveraging a unique AI-based production pipeline. We are excited to back the team at Scriptic as they usher in a new category of entertainment by blending game mechanics, AI, virtual influencers, storytelling, and compelling user-generated content on smartphones and multiple social media services.”
Scriptic is one of the first entertainment companies to leverage generative AI tools in a production capacity, having first used ChatGPT and DALL-E in 2021 to help with content production. The content produced by the studio is a powerful use case for generative AI in story media – blending text, images, video, and audio – into one seamless interactive experience. The studio’s Dark Mode horror anthology, launched in January, not only leveraged AI for content production but also used it as a creative tool; human creatives worked with the likes of DALL-E, ChatGPT, and Murf.ai to create the series’ visual art, voice acting, text and more. March’s comedy courtroom drama You Be The Judge! and recently-released zombie series Viral both prominently used generative AI tools such as ElevenLabs, ChatGPT and Midjourney in their development, with the latter also employing Runway Gen-2, a multi-modal text-to-video AI tool.
Over the next year, Scriptic will activate its user-generated content (UGC) strategy, first by putting AI-enabled creator tools in the hands of dozens of curated external builders. A cloud-based creator suite will give these writers one node-based service which wires together generative language models, diffusion models, and audio synthesis models, allowing them to create high-quality and seamless interactive experiences in a short space of time. This is the foundation of the company’s long-term vision of giving anyone the ability to easily build compelling phone-first dramas.