Studio looking to expand activities in Latin America
BERLIN — ZIO Studios, one of Latin America’s leading animation and gaming companies, is beefing up its operations after securing $1.3 million from Colombian venture capital fund Promotora.The Bogota-based ZIO develops games, mobile applications and provides animation services to clients in Europe, North America and Asia. ZIO has been developing its own next-generation 3D social game titles and animation projects over the past year and began releasing its first titles in January. The company said it would use proceeds from the investment to double its current staff of 45 in Colombia, structure a more robust product pipeline that can release several titles a year and open offices in California by this summer. The company said the investment reflects a larger trend in Latin America, which is rapidly becoming the next hotspot for technology entrepreneurs and investors alike. “We are entering a new phase in how rich media properties are consumed across platforms,” said Alejandro Gonzalez, ZIO co-founder and CEO, adding that the studio was “well positioned to tap into these huge emerging opportunities. It’s what’s next, and this investment is an unmistakable vote of confidence in our vision.” ZIO is also looking at new ways of integrating brands into games and other transmedia properties. “ZIO Studios combines the creativity of Latin America with world-class technological innovation to develop truly unique products and services,” said Promotora CEO Francisco Mira, who is joining ZIO’s board of directors. “We are very confident about what they can accomplish with professional financial backing.” ZIO is made up of three studios: Storyz, its TV and film animation production house; Brainz, its games and new media unit; and Mompozt, its post-production and visual effects shop. Storyz premiered one of Latin America’s first stereoscopic short animated films, “Dreamcatchers,” in January and a feature-length version is currently in the works, while Brainz recently released its Social Street Soccer for Facebook and will be launching the game through major networks in Brazil, Russia and Spain in March.