After recently being cited by FiveThirtyEight as being America’s “New Startup Frontier,” St. Louis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem got yet another shot in the arm when gaming technology startup Pixel Press — with a high profile deals already on the books with Cartoon Network, Toys-R-Us and GameStop among others — this week announced a new partnership with Mattel. The two companies formed a strategic alliance for Pixel Press’ latest product Bloxels, a hands-on platform aimed at children to build, collaborate and tell stories through video game design.
“Bloxels is an amazing technology that is unlike anything on the market, and this fall fans of all ages will be able to play with this state-of-the-art video game builder,” said Steve Ziemniak, Global Director of Brand Marketing, Mattel, Inc.
The partnership expands the offering of Bloxels through Mattel’s marketing, manufacturing and distribution channels.
“Bloxels cultivates imagination while encouraging discovery and experimentation,” said Robin Rath, CEO and co-founder of Pixel Press. “We are so excited to partner with Mattel and bring Bloxels to a wide audience for all to enjoy, learn and create.”
Evolving from his passion for “platformer video games” and born out of a Kickstarter campaign developed by Rath and Josh Stevens, the pair were optimistic they could attract consumers to initially create video games from paper drawings. Within a month Pixel Press was funded and ten months later the company had an iPad app.
“Our society loves to create and share things like architecture, art, and music,” Rath said. “But combining these into games on a digital platform is hard. We’re trying to give a broad spectrum of audiences access to an interactive storytelling medium that was, until now, out of reach for most.”
Pixel Press’s success is one more notch in the belt of St. Louis’ economic resurgence into a startup town. The Gateway City was cited as “the right way to build a tech city” by Forbes, called an “entrepreneurial boomtown” by researchers at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Popular Mechanics noted St. Louis as a top city to start a business, and it was called a Top 10 city to work in tech. All of which has regional officials exited to say the least.
“In St. Louis, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators with the capital, relationships, and other resources that they need to succeed,” said Jason Hall, Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Innovation and General Counsel at the St. Louis Regional Chamber who also leads Accelerate St. Louis — the region’s center-point for entrepreneurial activity. “The news about Pixel Press further validates that we must continue to focus on nurturing the growth of new startups for the future prosperity of the entire St. Louis region.”