Games company Zynga buys Oxford University spin-out for $527m

By | March 3, 2014
From the University’s Isis Innovation website:

US social games company Zynga has now finalised the acquisition of Natural Motion for more than $527m, one of the largest transactions ever involving an Oxford spin-out. The University, as a NaturalMotion shareholder, will benefit from more than £30m in cash and shares from the deal.

NaturalMotion Ltd started in 2001, based on the work of Oxford Zoology DPhil student Torsten Reil, the company’s CEO since foundation. Torsten was a neural researcher, developing computer simulations of nervous systems based on genetic algorithms. His programmes used natural selection to evolve their own means of locomotion, allowing more realistic animations of human and animal movement.

Torsten quickly saw the commercial potential of the technology, called Dynamic Motion Synthesis (DMS). With the help of the University’s technology transfer company Isis Innovation Ltd, he co-founded NaturalMotion for the development, use and sale of DMS. The Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund provided some initial funding for the new business, while Isis Innovation helped Torsten apply for a patent. Isis also introduced the new company to further investment from business angels, many of them Oxford-based.

Read the full article here.