My first role in the video game industry was in Tokyo in the early 90s. Even back then the interrelationships between anime, manga, and games were well established and en route to becoming a $20B business. As an American, I had grown up with the received wisdom that cartoons were exclusively for children. But, Japanese audiences of all ages enjoyed the exploration of a variety of complex subjects via those mediums. The Simpsons, launched just a few years prior, was arguably the first to introduce Western audiences to that type of storytelling. Despite the initial controversy, there have been an ever wider array of hit franchises since with the advent of large streaming platforms turbo-charging the category to the point that we are now witnessing the global emergence of what has been dubbed “The Great Adult Animation Boom”.
The demand for animated content that goes beyond children’s programming is growing and diversifying like never before with the number of shows in production increasing 100% over the year prior. As noted by Parrot Analytics, “The rise of the genre gave creators more creative freedom to stand out, through using animation to explore taboo topics such as addiction and depression in ways that many live action shows wouldn't even attempt back then.” Adults around the world increasingly enjoy animated series that feature rich narratives, contemporary themes, and blockbuster IP. With content budgets exceeding $100B this year, the opportunity has not been lost on the major streaming services. Meeting this exploding demand is both a creative and commercial challenge. Which is why we were intrigued to meet the founders of Trioscope.
Trioscope describes their work as “animation, all grown up.” It is easy to see what they mean when viewing what the proprietary animated drama technology can produce. The end result is a groundbreaking moving graphic novel experience where animation and live-action are fused together, creating visually arresting worlds. Trioscope enables filmmakers to focus on working with their actors to make narratives come alive while cost-effectively tapping into an unprecedented level of creative freedom. This unlocks vast opportunities for network content programming optionality. The team’s work on The Liberator for Netflix is a leading example. The four-part animated miniseries based on the true story of the Thunderbirds battalion in World War II was one of the top 3 most viewed shows on release.
Today, my partners and I are thrilled to announce our investment in Trioscope, a platform that seamlessly integrates the nuance and power of live action performances into graphically compelling worlds. Building on past experience with industry leaders such as Netflix, Hulu, Adult Swim and more, we are honored to join the team journey as they embark on disrupting digital entertainment.
About Transcend Fund
Transcend is a top performing early stage venture capital firm that partners with the boldest founders in the industry to collaboratively build the future of interactive entertainment.
Founded in San Francisco by gaming veterans, the Transcend portfolio features a preeminent group of high growth digital entertainment companies around the world.
About Shanti Bergel
Shanti is the founding partner of Transcend and a 30 year game industry veteran.
His global operating experience spans every major platform and business model transition of the last several decades and is animated by a career-long fascination with how changes in technology and distribution affect products, services, and communities.
Shanti is a recognized member of the Techcrunch List, speaks fluent Japanese, and is a frequent speaker on early stage investment, M&A, and strategic partnerships in digital entertainment.