12. Immersive Gamebox

An AR tech startup that brings audiences together through interactive games from Netflix, Paramount, and Sony Pictures, at venues all over the world.

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Founders: Will Dean and David Spindler
Year founded: 2018
Website: immersivegamebox.com 

Shortly after the popular TV show Squid Game was released by Netflix in 2021, water coolers across the nation played host to the same debate. Yes, it’s terrifying. Yes, it’s dystopian. But how do you think you would have done?

At Immersive Gamebox, you’ll find out (only this time, there’s no death threat). This innovative tech startup lets you live out your favourite film, TV show, and video game in real-life, thanks to its patented augmented reality (AR) that puts you right in the centre of the action.

Co-founder Will Dean says he founded the business from a belief that technology should enable families and friends to live in the present, rather than getting lost in unhealthy escapism like virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse, or social media.

Immersive Gamebox wants to deliver an inclusive and socially collaborative AR gaming experience where families, friends, and coworkers can truly play as a team.

That mission statement means Immersive Gamebox isn’t targeting your typical audience. Rather than hardcore solo gamers, it wants to deliver an inclusive and socially collaborative AR gaming experience where families, friends, and coworkers can truly play as a team.

To turn the vision into a reality, the Southwark-based business has developed a brand new hardware setup that combines projection mapping, sensors, touch screens and surround sound to create a high-tech entertainment experience that is also autism-friendly. 

Having already worked with Angry Birds and Squid Game to build high-tech entertainment experiences, the brand’s library of game content is starting to look like a real-life version of the app store. IP partnerships include Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Merlin Entertainments. Combined, these make a multi-million pound, multi-territory agreement that spans Europe, the USA, and Australia.

To date, the company has hosted over one million players worldwide, but the aim is to 10x this achievement

And, as if it needed another power-up, Dean reports that the company’s revenue grew by 115% in the first two quarters of 2023, while sales saw a similarly impressive rise of 112%. It’s also secured over £40m in debt finance – a substantial achievement that’s barely a sidequest in Immersive Gamebox’s journey so far.

To date, the company has hosted over one million players worldwide. But, Dean plans to 10x this achievement. Striving to reach an estimated 100 million by 2028, he is targeting aggressive expansion to 1,000 venues worldwide. 

Just like the murderous Squid Game doll, the Startups 100 judges are showing Immersive Gamebox the green light for future success. Ready, set, go!

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