Toya is an Israeli startup that offers a Roblox-focused gaming studio. Toya was founded by women and is run mostly by women. Toya just completed a $4 million funding round led by Drive by DraftKings, with gaming and media funds, Remagine Ventures and Powerhouse Capital participating.
Drive by DraftKings CEO and Managing Partner Meredith McPherron is joining Emily Greer and Anat Shperling on Toya’s Board of Directors.
Women have, more and more, been stepping up in roles as leaders of Startup Nation. JBN just highlighted three such women from the past year.
Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system developed by Roblox Corporation. It allows users to program games and play games created by other users. Roblox boasts that it is the ultimate virtual universe that “lets you create, share experiences with friends, and be anything you can imagine. Join millions of people and discover an infinite variety of immersive experiences created by a global community!”
Toya calls itself a non-traditional gaming studio made up of 80% female developers and artists, from Israel and Europe, who are gaming and media veterans. Founded in 2017, Toya has released 30 games.
“We are united by a belief and a desire to dream up our own stories, our own worlds and create inclusive, shared experiences.”
Toya says that its Roblox platform is an ecosystem with “unlimited freedom and the free, necessary tools to advance and promote the experiences Creators want to portray, in very simplistic and authentic ways.” This lack of constraints, declares the company, enables greater creativity and self-expression, while the access to Creator tools offers “an ability to feel connected to the pulse of the community while developing your experiences.”
“The creator economy is booming, and great content is in high demand. Toya’s ability to create breakaway hits helped us to attract a dream team of backers,” said Anat Shperling, Toya Co-Founder and CEO. “With this new funding, we’ll be able to accelerate our product development and go-to-market plans, giving Roblox gamers beautiful, fun and diverse gaming experiences.”
On founding Toya, Shperling said that she, “never thought about women’s rights as ‘our problem’ to solve. For me, it was always about human rights that is constantly revolving around the essence of FREEDOM. Your personal freedom as a girl/boy and as a grown-up woman/man.”
What threatens your freedom? Who is threatening it and why? She asks.
“Finding the best practices to change those threats with cultural tools that will enable us to reach a critical mass and change perceptions from within,” is what she says is her primary motivation.