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Written by Jonathan Shieber

LA-based gaming company, Scopely, expands in Spain and Ireland

The Los Angeles-based gaming company, Scopely is expanding its geographical footprint in Spain and Ireland.

The company is building out its Barcelona offices tripling its office space and planning to significantly expand its 100-person-strong team in the city. Meanwhile, Scopely is also planning to invest heavily in expanding its strategy-focused game studio, DIGIT, in Dublin.

Scopely didn’t say how many jobs it would be adding in either location.

The company has now hit lifetime revenue of over $1 billion across its franchises and recently launched Star Trek Fleet Command” and “Looney Tunes World of Mayhem”. Scopely also has licenses to develop games for World Wrestling Entertainment and The Walking Dead franchise.

“We are thrilled to expand our European footprint to accommodate our exponential growth,” said Javier Ferreira, Co-CEO of Scopely, in a statement. “I am excited to further lean in to the Barcelona market, which has top-quality talent. The same is true in Dublin with top tech talent flocking to the area, and both offices have amassed impressive highly-specialized expertise. Our Dublin and Barcelona teams play a critical role in the Scopely journey, and we are actively hiring across both markets.”

The company also plans to double its footprint in its hometown of Los Angeles in 2020.

The company has raised more than $250 million in financing to date from investors including Greenspring Associates, Greycroft Partners, Revolution Growth, Evolution Media Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Horizons Ventures, Sands Capital Ventures, The Chernin Group, Take-Two Interactive, Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Guber, Jimmy Iovine, and Brendan Iribe.

LA-based Brainbase raises $3 million for its intellectual property licensing management tech

It’s been nearly a century since Walt Disney first introduced Mickey Mouse to the world. In the ensuing decades, Disney, and the mythmakers of Hollywood have churned out storytelling franchises that are worth billions.

But the ways in which many of these mythmaking houses have kept track on the various characters they’ve come up with, and the partners they work with to have those characters live on in different forms, has been almost as antiquated as Steamboat Willie’s original 1928 animation.

Seeing an opportunity to give Hollywood’s licensing back-end an upgrade Nate Cavanaugh, Karl Johan Vallner and Nikolai Tolkatshjov, formed Brainbase in 2016.

The company, which raised $3 million from Struck Capital last month, sells an intellectual property licensing management tool and operates a marketplace where would-be vendors can meet license holders to pitch ideas on new products using intellectual property.

The financing also included investments from Tectonic Capital, Bonfire Ventures, Sterling Road and Watertower Ventures.

“Intellectual property licensing is fundamentally broken with the space dominated by a few players all dependent on legacy or homegrown infrastructure. In an environment where new brands are constantly emerging, the pervasiveness of social media enables them to become recognized on the world stage overnight” said Adam B. Struck, founder and managing partner of Struck Capital

Clients for the service already include Sanrio, which owns the “Hello Kitty brand. 

The company also recently made a couple of senior leadership hires which should help grow the business. Andrea Adelson, the former senior vice president of licensing at Fremantle — the production company and distributor of game shows like Family Feud, The Price Is Right and American Idol, is joining as the head of growth, and Ted Larkins, a former senior vice president and general manager of licensing agency CPLG North America has joined as the company’s head of business development.

Brainbase also nabbed a new board member along with its financing. Ray Hatoyama, the chief executive of Hatoyama Studio and a director at the Japanese messaging company, LINE.

“We are excited and thankful to have a seasoned, global group of investors, advisors, and customers supporting Brainbase’s mission,” said co-founder and CEO Nate Cavanaugh. “Our vision of building a product ecosystem for licensing management and monetization is resonating well across the industry. Our team is going to remain obsessed with building the best licensing technology platform and providing a great customer experience,” he added. “Those are ultimately the things that matter.”

Twitter blocks state-controlled media outlets from advertising on its social network

Twitter is now blocking state-run media outlets from advertising on its platform.

The new policy was announced just hours after the company identified an information operation involving hundreds of accounts linked to China as part of an effort to “sow political discord” around events in Hong Kong after weeks of protests in the region. Over the weekend over 1 million Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest what they see as an encroachment by the mainland Chinese government over their rights.

State-funded media enterprises that do not rely on taxpayer dollars for their financing and don’t operate independently of the governments that finance them will no longer be allowed to advertise on the platform, Twitter said in a statement. That leaves a big exception for outlets like the Associated Press, the British Broadcasting Corp., Public Broadcasting Service, and National Public Radio, according to reporting from BBC reporter, Dave Lee.

 

The affected accounts will be able to use Twitter, but can’t access the company’s advertising products, Twitter said in a statement.

“We believe that there is a difference between engaging in conversation with accounts you choose to follow and the content you see from advertisers in your Twitter experience which may be from accounts you’re not currently following. We have policies for both but we have higher standards for our advertisers,” Twitter said in its statement.

The policy applies to news media outlets that are financially or editorially controlled by the state, Twitter said. The company said it will make its policy determinations on the basis of media freedom and independence including editorial control over articles and video, the financial ownership of the publication, the influence or interference governments may exert over editors, broadcasters and journalists, and political pressure or control over the production and distribution process.

Twitter said the advertising rules wouldn’t apply to entities that are focused on entertainment, sports, or travel, but if there’s news in the mix, the company will block advertising access.

Affected outlets have 30 days before they’re removed from Twitter and the company is halting all existing campaigns.

State media has long been a source of disinformation and was cited as part of the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election. Indeed, Twitter has booted state-financed news organizations before. In October 2017, the company banned Russia Today and Sputnik from advertising on its platform (although a representative from RT claimed that Twitter encouraged it to advertise ahead of the election).