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Company Is Game On For Growth

April 12, 05

Computer games have come a long way since the days of Space Invaders and Pac Man, and now experts from a North East company are set to take them to the next level, thanks to a major investment from NorthStar Equity Investors.

Strange Agency Ltd, a spinout company from the University of Teesside, is using the funding to develop products and services that will offer rigorous, in-depth analyses of computer games very early in the development lifecycle - before they are playable

The company has been conducting research into the psychology of game play for a number of years, and it needed funding to take the research findings and convert them into a workable, commercial proposition.

The company hopes to have its new software product on the market by the summer of 2006; in the meantime it is launching a consultancy-based service this summer.

Strange Agency received a 'Proof of Concept Fund' investment from NorthStar Equity Investors - NStar's independent investment management company.

Strange Agency's market will include games developers, and publishers evaluating games for market.

Clive Fencott, managing director of Strange Agency, said: "Most venture capital outfits are not keen to invest in early-stage technology propositions - that's why the Proof of Concept Fund from NorthStar Equity Investors has been so important.

"NorthStar's whole approach was excellent, we had a long conversation with their people, and they took the time to get to know and understand our business and make recommendations about how to best take it forward.

"We were actually writing a textbook. As academics we didn't fully appreciate the commercial potential of our ideas, talking to NorthStar helped us to appreciate the scale of what we are dealing with. We are very excited about the future and delighted with the funding and the business advice we received from NorthStar"

Alex Buchan, fund manager from NorthStar Equity Investors, said: "Many hi-tech companies have fantastic ideas, but they are not market-ready. No business wants to rush to market to raise funds before the product is really ready, through the Proof of Concept Fund we are able to step in at this difficult stage and bridge the gap."

Strange Agency currently employs four staff, and is planning to recruit for two more technical posts this year.

The business is based at an incubator unit in Victoria Building - a grade 2 listed building devoted to graduate businesses - at the University of Teesside in Middlesbrough.


Media enquiries: Please contact Emma Drysdale at MHW PR on 0191 233 1300 or e-mail

Notes to editors: NorthStar Equity Investors is NStar's independent fund management company. It comprises a team of expert venture managers, who manage the North East Proof of Concept Fund investments from a base in central Newcastle upon Tyne.

NStar is a technology finance company set up by the regional development Agency for North East England (One NorthEast) in October 2003. Its aim is to create a new climate for technology investment in the North East, encouraging early stage venture finance and deal creation.

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