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Flush with capital, Stardock to set up multi-million dollar investment fund

Flush with capital, Stardock to set up multi-million dollar investment fund

April 11, 2013 | By Kris Graft

Thanks to a presumably massive haul from Stardock's sale of its Impulse digital distribution platform to retailer GameStop in 2011, the company said today it intends to start an investment fund for software and game developers.

Once this investment entity is established, the funds will be in the "mid-eight-digit range," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell told us Thursday.

It's a bit of a different route to financial expansion -- instead of acquiring more studios and talent, Stardock will remain the same size, and just invest in promising new external companies.

"I don't want Stardock to become a big company," Wardell said. "The bigger Stardock gets, the more time I end up spending with accountants and lawyers and business managers. Plus, we're in Michigan and it makes more sense to have these start-ups form where the founders are already located."

Wardell laid out four principles of its investment fund in the company's annual report today [PDF]:

We should use this capital to help the next generation of software and game developers.

We should use this capital to help found new game studios and new software ventures.

We will strive to have a minority share in these entities in the long-run.

These entities should produce things that will help future start-ups in the technology industry.

He said at these startups, he'd serve as interim CEO, with the long-term goal of him moving into an advisory role.

"We've done a few already but they're not far enough along in what they're working on to publicize anything," he said. "We're focusing on both games and software with this fund. But the game industry is on the cusp of a really amazing era where you can do truly great stuff as an independent developer again and the move to 64-bit and powerful, touch mobile devices are allowing for completely new types of games to be made."

Wardell said Stardock will be making more announcements in regards to the fund this summer, followed by news of funded companies and the projects they're working on.

"There are a lot of pieces that the developers will need to fully transition to the app-store/digital distribution model that we've seen evolve over the past couple of years," he said. "And there's a lot of amazingly talented people out there who understand this and have solutions to them. What they've lacked is capital and infrastructure to implement it. That's where I hope we can help."

In Stardock's annual report, he wrote, "If we are successful, the profit will follow. Even if we are not successful, some benefit will come from it."

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