I was made aware of Surrogate.tv’s work earlier this year when the site released a Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit tournament. Nintendo’s IRL take on its popular racing title was a great showcase for the technology — though, admittedly, there was enough lag in the remote operation to make control something of an issue.
Of course, Mario Kart is just one of the experiences the platform offers. It’s a pretty broad range, all told, from pinball to battling robots to claw machines. The diversity of experience is probably the service’s biggest strength, all told.
Today the Finnish startup announced that it has closed a $2.5 million seed round, led by Supernode Global and followed by PROfounders, Brighteye Ventures and Business Finland. The latest sum joins a $2 million pre-seed announced by the company last year.
The company’s big play is an ultra-low-latency streaming and robotics bundle that lets users remotely control real-world objects in the manner of a streaming gaming service. Another recent example is a partnership with Ubisoft, where users raised miniature Viking ships against strongman Hafþór Björnsson, for some reason. 2020, I guess.
“Previously, such teleoperation technology would be accessible only for very specific, mainly enterprise, applications,” CEO Shane Allen said of the seed raise. “With this second round of funding, we will be able to launch a string of exciting initiatives that will enable people to create experiences that have never been possible before, all using our technology.”
It seems clear that Surrogate.tv is looking to expand beyond its own entertainment site, offering up its teleoperation technology to interested third-parties. It’s something many have no doubt been investigating in a year when in-person events have been largely off limits.