We can see above Alexandre Pelletier-Normand and Jason Della Rocca at a recent Maison Notman event. Once known as a prolific community instigator, event organizer and IGDA director, Jason Della Rocca and his partners has announced a new video games incubator/accelerator, named Execution Labs. Here’s an insightful interview:
Can you present yourself, and your team? What’s your most favourite game?
Jason: The Execution Labs team members have all been in the game industry for over a decade each. I’ve been at this for about 17 years. Most of my career has been about working with and supporting developers, and especially working to foster and grow the game development community. Keith’s background is more on the business side, working on game monetization, marketing and business strategy. And Alex is our ops master with tons of production and deployment experience.
Not sure what the other guys are playing these days, but I’m digging deep into Borderlands 2.
Kudos for choosing Montreal as the home base. We love Montreal. But let’s say I live in France. Can you help me relocate to Montreal?
Jason: We are limiting our program to anyone who can ALREADY legally work in Canada. Given the lean nature of the operation and rapid timing, we can’t take 3 months and pay heavy fees to file visa papers, etc. While we have the intention to open things up more globally in the future, for now, we’re sticking to Canada.
Any reason why you are focused on mobile gaming? Developers who are targeting consoles feel left out
Jason: Mobile games are the right scope for the scale of Execution Labs. There’s just no way we can fund your idea for a Halo killer that will take $50million+ and 2 years to produce. The whole idea is to come in at the riskiest point, get these small teams up and running and get projects to market quickly. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Console doesn’t lend well to that approach.
Also, we just feel there is great opportunity for good mobile games and that we can make a direct impact (given our connections, expertize, resources, etc) on the projects we support.
The “Execution Labs” model seems very similar to tech startups accelerators. Why do you think the web/mobile accelerator model would fit in the video games world?
Jason: Well, our model is quite unique in that we’ve fused together the incubation piece (ie, getting a product made from scratch) and the acceleration piece (ie, finding traction in the market for that product). Also, our program is of variable length depending on how long each team needs to build something fun and in turn find an audience. So, we were certainly inspired by other programs, and did a lot of research to build a program we feel is well suited to how games are made and marketed.
Let’s say a game developer wants to develop a sequel for a successful game developed at Execution labs. Will Execution Labs continue to have a stake?
Jason: For all the funding and guidance we provide, we get compensated with a revenue share and an equity stake. All the details are fully outlined at our website. Regarding sequels, the revenue share component does not apply as we only will take revenue on the specific game you made while in the labs. However, the equity stake is in the studio itself, so in that sense we still benefit (long term) to the growth of a franchise.
What’s the best way to get accepted? Send awesome artwork? a video of the team? meet you over coffee to pitch the concept?
Jason: In terms of acceptance, we are looking for teams we believe can thrive as indie game developers. They should have sufficient development experience and propose a project that is both awesome, and within their capabilities. That could include a great design brief, concept art, or an early prototype. But also, a well written application that succeeds in making us think “wow, we really need to talk to these folks” will get you far.
For those that get past the initial filter based on the application form, we will be conducting a team meeting so we can all get to know each other better.
Thanks Jason for his time, and let’s wish him success!