Ex-Grand Theft Auto supremo leads Krotos funding deal

Leslie Benzies, one of the key figures in Scotland's video game industry, has backed a six-figure funding round by an Edinburgh-based audio technology specialist.

Krotos founder Orfeas Boteas says virtual reality is an important focus for the audio specialist. Picture: Frantzesco Kangaris/PA Wire

The former president of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North was the main investor in the “substantial” deal secured by Krotos, creator of the “Dehumaniser” system that turns human voices into monster sounds for games, films and television.

Orfeas Boteas, founder and chief executive of Krotos, hit upon the idea for the technology while studying at the University of Edinburgh. Old College Capital, the university’s investment arm, also provided funding alongside Benzies, who will join the Krotos board.

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The investment will help the firm double its headcount to 20 and expand its suite of audio tools as it seeks to grow its presence in fast-growing consumer markets such as virtual reality.

Benzies, who left Rockstar a year ago and is now working on a new project called Everywhere, 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.”

Since its launch in 2013, Dehumaniser has been used to voice characters in Hollywood blockbusters such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Jungle Book, as well as video games including Far Cry 4 and Doom. The software produces creature and monster sounds in real-time, speeding up a process that previously took up to eight hours.

Boteas said: “Our tools will finally free audio designers, creatives and musicians from outdated workflows and will allow them to focus on creativity.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

“Video games and films are our core market but there is massive potential in virtual reality 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.”

Old College Capital fund manager Andrea Young added: “Krotos is an exciting new company with potential to grow rapidly and deliver real economic impact. This deal highlights the potential of student-led enterprise.”