In 2010, I was asked to join Jonathan Blow, Aaron Isaaksen, Ron Carmel, Kyle Gabler, Nathan Vella, and Matthew Wegner as a Partner and create a new Angel-style Investment Firm to help new independent developers with unique voices get, and stay, financially independent.
Indie Fund is a funding source for independent developers, created by a group of successful indies looking to encourage the next wave of game developers. It was established as a serious alternative to the traditional publisher funding model. Additional details about the need for Indie Fund and the rationale behind it were shared at the Game Developers Conference in the talk titled Indies and Publishers: Fixing a System that Never Worked.
We make smaller investments and ask for less in return. The hope is that developers see enough revenue from their game to self-fund their next project. And voilà, one more developer that is free to make whatever crazy game they want.
Here’s a quick summary of how our funding works:
- Flexible budget, no milestones – Upon signing the funding agreement we start delivering monthly payments to cover your ongoing costs. You give us monthly builds so that we can see how the game is progressing, but there are no pre-set milestones to meet. You are free to experiment and evolve your design as you go, so long as you don’t run too far over budget. Our pockets aren’t infinitely deep, unfortunately.
- Proportional repayment – Once the game is released, you first pay back the investment and then share a small percentage of the revenue. The exact percentage is proportional to the amount of funding you needed to complete your game. If you needed 20% less funding than you originally thought, you’d end up paying 20% less revenue share to Indie Fund.
- No long term obligations – If the game did not generate enough revenue to repay the investment within 3 years of release, the agreement expires and you no longer owe Indie Fund anything. Whatever revenue your game generates from that point on is yours to keep. If the game does generate enough revenue to repay the investment the agreement could expire even sooner leaving 100% of the revenue to you.
Anyone can also download the terms sheet we are currently using with our developers here: http://indie-fund.com/2011/03/funding-terms-now-public/
All of our funded games are still in development, but they include: