tweehouseTweehouse, a 6 months old Finnish MMO gaming startup that was spun from Valve, has received 3500 000 euro from who else than Tekes, Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

Tweehouse got the grant to assist in the ongoing development of TrunkTech, an end-to-end technology platform designed to develope games in co-operation with a U.S. based games publisher. With the grant Tweehouse team will be able to grow its current size of nine developers and designers in Finland and additional marketers and producers in Los Angeles, CA. They just got their first game out, Eco-Rangers. A good start, even though according to the team it’s only a mere poke at the market compared to what’s in the plans: The Eco-Rangers was mainly a marketing campaign for Taco Bell in the US, whereas TrunkTech will be published as SaaS (’Software as a Service’) later in 2009 and used as the core engine in buiding of many more massively multi-player applications or even in virtual worlds.

The startup has a rather unusual business model. I quote myself here from the previous post on the company:

Tweehouse will target purely US market in the beginning. For this Snap TV is an ideal partner [for Tweehouse] to handle the Sales and PR and leave the game development and pipeline management to the Helsinki office. Snap TV prides itself for having a dedicated sales force that calls on all classes of retail and ships products to over 20,000 storefronts across the United States and Canada, thus enabling quick access to market when the product is ready.

The business model will build on the end-to-end solution. The service covers everything from design, development and marketing all the way to running the platform and moderation of the games themselves. In essence Tweehouse is aiming to build and sell solid gaming platforms to their customers. In addition to a fixed price element, the company also aims to always build an upside to the products they sell. This could mean for example a revenue share model that will be a percentage of each game sold.

As Paavo Perttula of Tweehouse notes, Finnish success in gaming is partly due to the long tradition stemming from the very active demo scene of the 80’s. Along with the demo scene, the Finnish goverment has had an active role contributing to the success as well. In 2007, the Finnish technology fund (Tekes) gave in excess of 6M euros in government grants to gaming initiatives, whereas the combined figure for the whole of the EU was 21M euros. This time it was Tweehouse’s turn to give the international expansion a try, and based on the progress so far they are on schedule. Congratulations to the team and good luck!