Name: Draw & Code
Technologies: Augmented reality (AR)
Based in the cultural heart of Liverpool City Region, Draw & Code was established in 2012 to create immersive experiences and products. The company’s first consumer product, SwapBots, is an interactive augmented reality (AR) app that enables children to digitally customise toys and bring them to life through a smartphone or tablet.
Despite Liverpool City Region being a hotspot for interactive and games talent, the company was lacking funding support and finding the right staff at the right moment. Draw & Code also wanted to undertake late-stage user testing for its smart toy SwapBots and use it to help break into the US and European retail markets. Having attended the Activate launch event, Draw & Code was involved from the start of the programme and identified it as a resource to help take its product to the next level.
With support from Activate and programme partner FACT, Draw & Code was able to access the skills and technology needed to achieve market validation and late-stage user testing for SwapBots. The company also worked with the programme to access in-depth marketing tools, funding and UI design professionals from Nintendo to determine a commercial strategy for taking SwapBots to an international market.
The research and consultancy facilitated by Activate and FACT has led Draw & Code to go to market with a revised version of the game and the company has recently showcased at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. The company has also appointed two new members of staff – lead producer and commercial director – to see it through its next phase of growth, taking its headcount to 17.
The aim now is to push SwapBots into the US and wider European retail markets by 2020.
Phil Charnock, marketing manager at Draw & Code said: “Access to funding is a major challenge for any business and Draw & Code is no exception. Despite Liverpool City Region being a hotbed of interactive and games talent, it’s still hard to find the right staff and support. The opportunity to leverage experience like this is rare and it’s encouraging to see business support programmes like Activate helping innovators access industry insight for free.
“The support provided by Activate and FACT means we are much more prepared for the challenge, both strategically and in terms of the game design itself.”