Grand Theft Auto producer Leslie Benzies backs audio firm

Old College Capital is known for its dehumaniser voice processor which produces monster sounds for films, television and video games. Picture: contributed
Old College Capital is known for its dehumaniser voice processor which produces monster sounds for films, television and video games. Picture: contributed
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Video games pioneer Leslie Benzies has pumped cash into a city firm which produces audio for the entertainment industry, including a string of Hollywood films.

Mr Benzies, the former president of Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar North, is the main investor in a “substantial” six-figure funding deal for Krotos.

Lesley Benzies. Picture: contributed

Lesley Benzies. Picture: contributed

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

The investment – co-funded by Edinburgh University venture investment arm Old College Capital – will allow Krotos to double its workforce to 20 and improve its facilities.

Founder Orfeas Boteas hit upon the idea while studying at the university and the firm has since voiced characters on blockbusters Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Jungle Book.

Mr 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.”

Orfeas Boteas. Picture: contributed

Orfeas Boteas. Picture: contributed

Since its launch in 2013, Dehumaniser has also been used on hit video games Far Cry 4, Doom, and League of Legends, and by TV production companies in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The innovative software was initially created as part of Mr Boteas’ Masters degree in Sound Design and makes it possible to produce imaginary creature and monster sounds in real-time – a process which used to take up to eight hours.

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

Mr Boteas said: “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.”

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

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.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com