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Hubble bubble, toil and trouble: Thought Machine's Cauldron spins off to create financial video games

With backing from the fintech’s investors Draper Esprit, Backed, Playfair Capital and IQ Capital.

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Fox Rogers/Cauldron.

After seven years of quietly building banking experiences, Thought Machine’s creative arm, Cauldron, is being spun off as a standalone financial video game studio.

In what is likely one of UK fintech’s best-kept secrets, Cauldron has been releasing gamified apps including Nestlings and Nestlums—even being featured by Apple as an ‘App of the Day’—aimed at helping kids learn and manage their money.

Now the studio will be able to dedicate 100 per cent of its time to creating gaming experiences “within the finance industry and beyond”.

“Spinning out from Thought Machine at this pivotal time is a testament to the success Cauldron has had over the years,” said Mark Warrick, previously Thought Machine’s chief design officer and now CEO and founder of Cauldron.

“I am humbled by our history within Thought Machine that has allowed us to mutate into a world-class creative team that can focus on our big plans within gaming.”

Cauldron also led the creative design work behind wealth manager Killik & Co’s robo-advice app Silo.

Even more impressively is that Thought Machine’s VC investors—Draper Esprit, Backed, Playfair Capital and IQ Capital—have agreed to take a 13 per cent equity stake in Cauldron, adding it to their portfolios.

Draper Esprit partner Vinoth Jayakumar said that Cauldron fulfils Draper’s thesis that “the opportunity to create a new, differentiated experience in financial services represents a new paradigm of thinking in fintech.”

Along with Warrick, who will retain the informal role of culture advisor at Thought Machine, Fox Rogers and Matt Hyde have been appointed co-founders of Cauldron, along with roles as creative director and product & games director respectively.

Rumours have been increasing in recent weeks that Thought Machine is preparing to raise a significant new funding round, which Sky News pegged at around £150m with a valuation in excess of $1bn.

The decision to spin off Cauldron at this time may be linked with broader changes to Thought Machine’s cap table, although we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out for sure.

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