Playco Official Press Release
Sep 15, 2021

Social Media Superstars and Venture Capitalists Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Animal Capital’s Marshall Sandman Partner with Playco, Leader in Instant Gaming, to bring First-Ever Game to TikTok

Playco’s New, Innovative Interactive Storytelling Platform
Empowers Creators to Connect to Fans Through Gaming

Sway Stories

Social media superstars and venture capitalists Josh Richards (of “BFFs” with Dave Portnoy) and Griffin Johnson (of Sway House) are partnering with Playco, the world’s largest instant game developer, to launch a new game “Sway Stories” for millions of fans around the world.  This will be the first time people on TikTok can play a game without leaving the popular social media app.  Users play the part of a young, aspiring creator who receives a surprise invitation to a party at the Sway House, and their choices determine how the young creator’s story will play out.  Richards and Johnson star in the game and offer fans a fun, innovative way to interact with them and a window into their lives.

Playco has developed a powerful, new storytelling platform that empowers creators to publish their own games directly into their social channels, deepening their relationship with fans and opening new opportunities for interaction and monetization across multiple platforms and billions of potential fans.  The rich, immersive game experiences help creators like Richards and Johnson delight their fan bases and also provides platforms with new user experiences. With creators under pressure to continually release new content, Playco’s platform helps them deliver deeply engaging content at scale, in a new format, while opening up new and exciting possibilities to interact with fans in fictional settings.

“We have had an awesome experience developing this game with the Playco team,” Josh Richards said. “We are excited to show fans a little bit of our personal lives, and hopefully they’ll get a couple laughs along the way!”

“Being part of the first game on TikTok is a huge deal.  We hope the first-mover advantage will allow our game to garner a lot of attention and pave the way for more interactive content in the very near future,” said Griffin Johnson.

Richards and Johnson are original members of the Sway House, the cultural phenomenon that launched on TikTok in 2019. Through their unique content on the TikTok platform, they have connected with millions of Gen Z and Millennial users, launched an apparel line and now a mobile game. Throughout the past year alone, Richards has invested in a multitude of projects such as CrossCheck Studios, CrossCheck Sports, Animal Capital, HawkeZ, and Ani Energy, among others, in an attempt to focus on building equity for the long-haul. He is using his social media prowess to help others reach their dreams of success.

“We have admired Playco founders, Justin Waldron and Michael Carter, for years. The chance to align incentives with them through this new, innovative venture is really cool. Finding ways to grow audience and mind share for the portfolio companies of Animal Capital has always been core to our platform, and we think this is a perfect example of that,” said Marshall Sandman, Managing Partner of Animal Capital.

“We’re driven to create innovative experiences that let people connect through gaming. Partnering with Josh and Griffin to bring the Sway House to life with Sway Stories is a fun, unique way to launch Playco’s interactive storytelling platform,” said Playco Co-Founder Justin Waldron.

About Playco:

Playco is the world’s first instant gaming company. It’s mission is to bring the world closer together through play. It’s high-fidelity video games that are playable instantly without downloads and are scalable to potentially billions of players on Facebook, Snap, LINE, Zoom and beyond. For each platform, Playco designs the games with the platform’s user base, social mechanics and content culture in mind. Playco’s innovative experiences include the global hit EverWing on Facebook, Snake Squad on Snap Games and the recently released Trip Royale on LINE Messenger, launched in partnership with soccer superstar Keisuke Honda and his educational non-profit, NowDo. In July, the Company brought two of the first games to the Zoom platform: a new version of Ellen’s smash hit Heads Up! and an ice-breaker game titled Ask Away. Earlier in the year, they partnered with AMC Networks to launch The Walking Dead Life on Facebook. Playco recently completed a $100 million Series A fundraise which was co-led by Josh Buckley and Sequoia Capital Global Equities and included Will Smith’s Dreamers VC and Walter Kortschak and some of the most successful gaming-focused venture investors in Silicon Valley. Playco has offices in Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Seoul. Learn more at https://www.play.co/

About Animal Capital:

Animal Capital is a $15M B2C-oriented venture capital firm founded by Marshall Sandman and Michael Gruen. The fund launched in Q1 of 2021 and focuses on investments in the fintech, healthcare, media and consumer industries. Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck act as operating partners of the firm. Justin Kan, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, and Jana Messerschmidt act as advisors to Animal Capital.

Media Contacts:

Playco

pr@play.co

Animal Capital

Craig Dietel

cdietel@jconnelly.com