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Odyssey Interactive’s startup journey begins in Waterloo

A new gaming startup - Odyssey Interactive - has decided to open shop in Waterloo to build mobile friendly games with a sense of community.

A new video game startup, Odyssey Interactive, has launched in Waterloo with $7.9M in seed financing.

The new company will develop mobile gaming experiences that create a sense of community and purpose for players along the same lines as break-out successes like League of Legends and World of Warcraft. The company has strong experience with creating these experiences – all four founders previously held important positions at Riot Games, which created League of Legends.

“While these games span across genres and decades, they all have something important in common, they created communities that helped us feel like we were part of something bigger than just a game,” the company’s founders wrote in a recent blog post. “With the next generation having grown up with phones being their primary gaming platform, we believe they deserve the same experiences that we had, and should have games purpose-built for them that can become a core part of their lives.”

Even though all four founders built their careers in the United States, the decision to start their company in Canada – and especially Waterloo – wasn’t difficult.

Waterloo: an ecosystem of dynamic collaboration

" Canada is set up to be very conducive to startups, especially in interactive media, through tax credits like SR&ED and the digital media tax credit "

Richard Henkel

CEO, Odyssey Games

In a new blog post, Henkel listed four key reasons for choosing Canada rather than starting their company in Silicon Valley, including helpful immigration policies, a thriving tech scene and a high density of game developers. Quality of life was at the top of the list.

“We want people that join us in this journey to feel supported both at and outside of work, so they could spend their time focusing on making some of the world’s next great games, not whether they could afford things like health insurance, or rent for the next month,” wrote Henkel.

The decision to land in Waterloo was all about the community’s strong startup ecosystem, which includes Canada’s three fastest-growing tech companies, hundreds of startups and support organizations like Communitech. The University of Waterloo, which is Canada’s top tech university and Henkel’s alma mater, is expected to become a strong recruitment option for a company that targets to grow to 15-20 employees within the next two years.

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