'Smart toy' outfit secures cash, with contributions from games and anime angels

MakieLab secures $1.4m in funding

MakieLab has secured £1.4 million in funding for its user-designed, 3D-printed action doll business model.

The company lets users design digital dolls via its website. The designs are then made physical with 3D printing, and sent to customers who pay for the dolls.

Currently in open alpha, the service will eventually expand to included dolls with various new features, and link the vitrtual world where the Makies are created with the physical product through social and gameplay mechanics.

“We’ve seen amazing levels of creativity from our customers since letting the first few in during open alpha just a few weeks ago”, says Alice Taylor, founder and CEO of MakieLab, and formerly Channel 4. “We’re now hard at work to enable further customisation of Makies, more creativity, and to expand to include digital and physical gaming.”

The funding comes in the form of a seed round led by early-stage investors Lifeline Ventures and Sunstone Capital. Anime and gaming industry veterans Matthew Wiggins, Daniel James and Cedric Littardi of superangel-fund Ynnis Ventures also joined the round.

“The toys industry is ripe for disruption and 3D printing opens up for a powerful blend of digital and physical," said Petteri Koponen, Partner at Lifeline Ventures. "We’re thrilled to support Alice, Jo, Sulka, Luke and team in London and Helsinki in their venture to define a new toys company."

MakieLab has sold out the first limited run of 100 Makies. Current owners are being encouraged to ‘hack’ their dolls if they wish. Makies, which may in future iterations included various internal circuitry, presently contain access points as well space for batteries and electronics components such as the Lilypad Arduino.

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