Female-Driven No-Code Game App Dorian Raises $14 Million

Fiction writers are invited to bring their art to life as mobile games with no-code app Dorian. Founded in 2018, Dorian offers choose-your-own-adventure play for free, but lets users spend in-app currency to choose narrative paths, promising authors a first-dollar cut of the payments. The company, which builds for iOS and Android, claims a library of roughly 3,500 games, created by a “nearly all-female creator community” of about 250 monetizing storytellers, a number it says is growing quickly compared to other platforms, where it can take years to start earning. Dorian recently raised $14 million in Series A funding led by The Raine Group.

Other investors include Graham & Walker, March Gaming, VGames, Gaingels, and London Venture Partners (LVP), where Dorian co-founder and CEO Julia Palatovska was once an investor. The company said in an announcement that the funding will be used to expand Dorian’s cloud-based creation tools and live-streaming support to ensure that collaborating on the platform “is fun, easy and accessible for creators working together remotely.”

“Dorian is the first game platform founded and led by a woman and built with female creators and players in mind,” says the company, which asserts Dorian has “100 percent creators and players who identify as women, with 50 percent people of color,” its player base “nearly 100 percent female streamers.”

Palatovska, who was born and raised in Ukraine, helped build Sweden’s G5 Entertainment into a publicly listed mobile development studio before leapfrogging to the UK, then San Francisco, where Dorian is based. According to Tubefilter, when Dorian announced a $3.25 million seed round in 2020, Palatovska “discussed her plan to create a platform that would mix the interactive storytelling of Episode with the social play dynamics of Roblox.”

TechCrunch describes Episode as “a viral interactive storytelling app produced by Pocket Gems,” but goes on to note that “on Episode, in order to monetize, writers need to accumulate at least 500,000 reads in a 60-day period, which is no easy feat. Dorian has no readership requirements before a creator can start monetizing. Any user over the age of 13 can monetize on Dorian through Tipalti, the same payout provider that Twitch and Roblox use.”

Lionsgate, the company that released “The Blair Witch Project” in 1999, gave fans “another chance to live in the narrative universe the film evoked” by teaming with Dorian on a fan-fiction contest, Forbes reported in January, noting that while fan fiction typically does not involve payment (“to avoid the wrath of copyright attorneys”), partnering with IP holders sometimes involves money-making.