Grand Theft guru leads Krotos investment

Edinburgh-based Krotos, producer of audio products for the entertainment industry, said it secured angel investment in a deal led by Leslie Benzies, former president of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North.

Krotos said video game pioneer Benzies is the main investor, with co-funding for the six-figure deal provided by Old College Capital, the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh.

Krotos, known for its “Dehumaniser” voice processor which produces monster sounds for films, television and video games, has already won business from studios around the world including Disney and Warner Brothers.

It said the investment from Benzies will help it double its headcount to 20 and widen its suite of Pro Audio tools while also reaching consumer markets in growth areas such as virtual reality and gaming communication.

Krotos founder and CEO Orfeas Boteas came up with the idea for Dehumaniser while studying at the University of Edinburgh.

The software, initially created as part of his Masters degree in Sound Design, makes it possible to produce imaginary creature and monster sounds in real-time, dramatically speeding up a process that used to take up to eight hours.

It also allows actors to generate sounds using their own voices.

Since its launch in 2013, Dehumaniser has been used to voice characters in Hollywood films including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jungle Book, as well as video games Far Cry 4, Doom, and League of Legends.

It has also been used by television production companies in the US, Europe and Asia.

Boteas said: “Our tools will finally free audio designers, creatives and musicians from outdated workflows and will allow them to focus on creativity.

“The next few years will open up exciting possibilities for new media, as audio is now more challenging than ever with virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.

“Video games and films are our core market but there is massive potential in VR and that will be an important focus for us moving forward.

“The support we have received from the technology and business community in Scotland over the last four years has been fantastic.

“It’s a great place to start a tech business and I’m delighted that we will be able to build a bigger presence in Edinburgh following the investment.”

Benzies said: “Orfeas understands the potential of bringing technology and creativity together, and his vision for the future of audio tools resonated with me.

“I look forward to working with such a talented and driven team.”

Andrea Young, fund manager of Old College Capital said: “Krotos is an exciting new company with potential to grow rapidly and deliver real economic impact in Edinburgh.

“This deal highlights the potential of student-led enterprise and it is great that the University through Old College Capital is able to take a stake in the company and share in its future success.”

Benzies will join the Krotos board, which includes non-executive directors Matthew Smith, former audio director of Rockstar North, IT entrepreneur Ian Ritchie, and financial expert Colin Grant.