Sexy iGirl iPhone App Funds a Startup
The true story of how one goofball iPhone app saved a company and funded a new MMO game.
You can't really take iGirl seriously. It's a goofy (with an emphasis on sad and borderline creepy) iPhone app featuring a pasty-looking, scantily-clad virtual girlie that you can customize according to your...ahem...interests. "We get e-mail complaints from conservatives that think [iGirl] is too perverted while kids complain that there's no nudity," says Resistor Productions CEO, Toby Battan. But that 99-cent joke helped kick-start a company and fund a new MMO (massively multiplayer online) fighting game, Disciple.
In the past, I've spoken with a homebrew coder who built games on the side, but Battan's story is a little different. He's a serial entrepreneur who got tired of courting venture capitalists in pursuit of his browser-based fantasy fighter (and I'll get to that game in a few seconds, promise). "I loathed having to go around to VCs asking for money," says Battan.
Obviously the economy is hurting and people aren't as quick to part with piles of cash as they once were, but he paints a funny scenario: "It used to be that they'd invest if they saw a good plan on paper. Now VCs want to see a company that's profitable before they invest.... Why would I come back when I'm already profitable?" In the end, it's a painful six-month-plus process just to get money with a whole bunch of strings attached.
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