Drivetime Launches JEOPARDY!® on Drivetime, Announces $11M Series A Funding Led by Makers Fund with Participation from Amazon's Alexa Fund and Google

JEOPARDY!® is the eighth channel in Drivetime’s rapidly growing lineup of interactive audio entertainment for drivers, and is the first to bring licensed intellectual property into the Drivetime mobile app. The follow-on financing comes just a year after the company raised a $4 million seed round

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 9, 2019Play JEOPARDY!® While You Drive! Drivetime, the world’s first entertainment company developing interactive voice games for drivers, today announced the launch of the JEOPARDY!® channel inside the Drivetime mobile app - available for download on iOS and Android. The company also announced its $11 million Series A financing, led by Makers Fund. This brings total funding to date to $15 million.

Hosted by Alex Trebek, JEOPARDY!® on Drivetime brings the Emmy Award-winning show into the car for the first time as an interactive voice experience. Anyone who wants to feel like a JEOPARDY!® contestant has the opportunity to play, completely hands free and safely, while commuting and traveling. Drivetime Premium subscribers get a new episode every day, Monday through Friday, and can access all past episodes on demand.

“We are thrilled to work with Sony Pictures Television Games to bring JEOPARDY!®, the greatest game show on the planet, to an underserved audience that desperately needs interactive entertainment the most – the 110 million commuters in North America driving to and from work by themselves every day,” said Niko Vuori, founder and CEO of Drivetime.

“Drivetime brings JEOPARDY!® and Alex Trebek into a whole new part of people’s lives, turning their daily commute into a unique quiz show experience,” said Paul Joffe, vice president of Games at Sony Pictures Television. “We look forward to building on JEOPARDY!®’s mobile offerings and entering the in-car entertainment space.”

Fuel Capital, Webb Investment Network and Access Ventures all renewed their commitment, along with additional funding from the Amazon Alexa Fund and the Google Assistant Investments Program. 

“Social and interactive formats are the next frontier in audio entertainment,” said Makers Fund Founding Partner Jay Chi. “Niko, Justin Cooper and Cory Johnson, with a decade-long history of working together and a proven track record in building new platforms, is the best team to bring this idea to life.” 

“Gaming and entertainment are among customers’ favorite use cases for Alexa, and we think those categories will only grow in popularity as Alexa is integrated into more vehicles,” said Paul Bernard, director of the Alexa Fund at Amazon. “Drivetime stands out for its focus on voice-first games in the car, and we’re excited to work with them to broaden the Alexa Auto experience and help customers make the most of their time behind the wheel.” 

Ilya Gelfenbeyn, founding lead of the Google Assistant Investments Program, added, “Drivetime is one of the early pioneers in creating safe, stimulating entertainment for drivers in the car. More and more people are using their voice to stay productive on the road, asking the Google Assistant on Android and iOS phones to help send text messages, make calls and access entertainment hands free. We share Drivetime’s vision, and look forward to working with their team to make the daily commute more enjoyable.” 

About Drivetime

Drivetime, founded in 2018 and headquartered in San Francisco, is the world’s premier company developing voice games and other interactive audio entertainment for drivers. The company’s mission is to make driving delightful through interactive audio content that commuters can play safely while they are on the road. Drivetime has raised $15 million in venture funding from leading investors including Makers Fund, Amazon Alexa Fund, Google, Felicis Ventures, Fuel Capital, Webb Investment Network and Access Ventures, among others. 

About Makers

A venture capital fund created to support founders by combining deep industry experience with multi-stage investment across seed to series B, Makers is dedicated to furthering growth and innovation in the global interactive entertainment industry.

About Sony Pictures Television Games

Sony Pictures Television Games is an award-winning, world-class mobile games publisher that is recognized for its premier brands including: Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and Hotel Transylvania. Most recent games include the Jeopardy! Skill on Amazon Alexa, Who Wants to be a Millionaire Mobile and Smurfs Bubble Story.

Drivetime Launches World’s First Game for Drivers, Announces $4M Seed Funding from Marquee Investors

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 7, 2018 – Drivetime, the world’s first interactive entertainment company developing voice games for drivers, today announced $4 million in seed funding from a syndicate of technology and media investors spanning Silicon Valley, New York City and Los Angeles. Participation came from Felicis Ventures, Fuel Capital, Webb Investment Network, Sinai VC, Precursor Ventures, Canaan Partners, Access Ventures, Founders Fund, Index Ventures and The Chernin Group, along with a number of prominent angel investors including Zynga co-founders Mark Pincus, Eric Schiermeyer and Justin Waldron, Applovin founder Adam Foroughi, Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy, Bright.com founder Eduardo Vivas and former Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda.

 Drivetime also announced the launch of its first product, the Drivetime mobile app (available now for iOS, Android coming soon), which allows drivers to play trivia against friends, family and fellow commuters - safely, using just their voices.

With the voice-powered Smart Speaker revolution firmly underway in the home, but yet to make its way into the car, Drivetime is targeting the final frontier still untouched by interactive entertainment. “There are over 110 million commuters in the United States driving to and from work by themselves every day - shouldn’t we be able to play games while we do so?” asked Niko Vuori, founder and CEO of Drivetime.

“Collectively, Americans spend 2.5 billion hours driving every month and it’s exciting to support Drivetime's vision to bring more interactive - yet safe - entertainment to people’s commutes. We believe the time is right for gaming to emerge as a compelling use case in the car,” said Chris Howard, Founding Partner of Fuel Capital.

Drivetime was founded by Niko Vuori, Justin Cooper and Cory Johnson, industry veterans who bring years of experience at the leading edge of two recent gaming revolutions: building on top of social platforms at Zynga, and building on top of mobile platforms as co-founders of Rocket Games. “Voice-powered interfaces are the next platform in technology - and whenever a new platform emerges, gaming quickly rises to become a dominant activity.” said Aydin Senkut, Managing Partner of Felicis Ventures, and an early investor in Angry Birds developer Rovio.

 “We are thrilled with the caliber of our syndicate of investors,” said Niko. “Our mission is to bring fun and laughter into the car through interactive social games, and with the capital we have raised, and the partners we have rooting for us, we are very well-positioned to go after the blue ocean opportunity that is interactive entertainment in the car.”

 

About Drivetime

Drivetime, founded in 2018 and headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., is the world’s first interactive entertainment company developing voice games for drivers. The company was founded by Niko Vuori, who was GM of Zynga Poker and a co-founder of Rocket Games (acquired in 2016 by Penn National Gaming); Justin Cooper, who was VP of User Experience at Zynga and a co-founder of Rocket Games; and Cory Johnson, who was a Principal Software Engineer at Zynga and Director of Engineering at Rocket Games. Drivetime is funded by a syndicate of technology and media investors from Silicon Valley, New York City and Los Angeles, including Felicis Ventures, Fuel Capital, Webb Investment Network, Sinai VC, Canaan Partners, Access Ventures, Founders Fund, Index Ventures and The Chernin Group, along with a number of prominent angel investors including Zynga co-founders Mark Pincus, Eric Schiermeyer and Justin Waldron, Applovin founder Adam Foroughi, Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy, Bright.com founder Eduardo Vivas and former Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda.