Stealth Mode

Oberon Media Cofounders Raise $1.5M for New Stealth Startup

Gamer guys Ofer Leidner and Tomer Ben-Kiki are working on a new venture.
2c2d657 Oberon Media Cofounders Raise $1.5M for New Stealth Startup

Mr. Leidner (linkedin.com)

Call it Sherlock Holmes syndrome, but when companies go into stealth mode, we can’t help but feel the need to do a little sleuthing.

Such is the case with Spring Inc., a startup we’d never heard of until yesterday that filed a Form D with the SEC for $1.5 million. The form listed Ofer Leidner as the executive associated with Spring. Mr. Leidner is the cofounder of Oberon Media, the world’s foremost casual gaming platform.

Oberon isn’t a household name, but dedicated gamers will know some of their work: Providing branded casual game experiences for some of the biggest companies out there like AT&T, Target and Yahoo, Oberon is responsible for many successful game franchises for both web-based and mobile play. Turbo Pizza, for example, is Mr. Leidner’s favorite; it’s a popular PC game where players work to build a family-owned restaurant franchise.

But becoming a successful digital pizza entrepreneur is a thing of the past for Mr. Leidner. Oberon told Betabeat that Mr. Leidner left the company (his LinkedIn profile confirms the departure in 2010), and that Spring Inc. is a new venture of Mr. Leidner’s that has no connection to Oberon.

The Form D filing states that Spring Inc. was incorporated in 2011 and Mr. Leidner is the president. The company is located in the TechSpace coworking offices in Union Square. A phone call to TechSpace asking to be connected to Spring Inc. landed us in the voicemail inbox of Tomer Ben-Kiki, Mr. Leidner’s cofounder at Oberon. Oberon confirmed that Mr. Ben-Kiki also left Oberon to work on new projects.

So what exactly is Spring Inc., other than a TechSpace inhabitant with $1.5 million in its pocket? “Spring is indeed a new venture,” Mr. Leidner told us over email, “but we are still in stealth mode and as such aren’t going yet to the press.”

One of Oberon’s biggest challenges has been integrating social media into the casual gaming experience. The company was founded in 2003, far before the heydays of social media, so Oberon was forced to scramble to add social components to their games after publication. Perhaps Spring Inc. will take the lessons learned from Oberon’s struggle and focus on more social gaming, in the vein of companies like Zynga and OMGPOP. Or perhaps they’ll go in a different direction completely. Whatever the case, we can only hope more pizza will be involved.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com