AI startup Layer AI raises $1.8M to supercharge game art production

Designing and creating captivating games requires extensive effort and expertise. Even with the help of artificial intelligence, many of today’s AI tools cater either to broad applications and basic model training or offer standalone features that aren’t tailored to everyday needs. These tools can be overly complex or fail to accommodate multidisciplinary teams, and lack readiness for enterprise use. That’s why one San Francisco AI startup stepped in to empower game studios by providing an AI-powered productivity tool.

Enter Layer AI, an AI startup that enables creative freedom while preserving the game’s style and quality. Layer helps companies in the creation of professional game art, in-game content, marketing, and live ops art at scale. The company’s AI-powered productivity tool aims to unleash creativity without compromising on the quality or accuracy of the game’s style. Users can set the creative direction and then scale with the power of AI, as Layer takes prompts from existing art styles and creates an unlimited pipeline of professional game assets.

Today, Layer announced the closing of its first seed round, securing $1.8 million from top ad-tech and gaming angels, as well as VC funds. The funding round included support from industry legends such as Jim Payne, gaming angels Akin Babayigit, Michele Attisani, and Dilpesh Parmar, and gaming VCs like The Games Fund, The Games Syndicate, GFR Fund, Laton Ventures, along with other AI/Tech VCs and angels like 500 Global, Elena Silenok, and Taimur Rashid. Additionally, Layer received a strategic investment from the US-based top art production and talent house Devoted Studios.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Layer was founded by a team of passionate professionals with extensive experience in AI, gaming, and computer vision. The CEO, Volkan Gurel, has a background in engineering and management from MIT, Hunch, and Coinbase. The CRO, Burcu, has served in multiple client-facing roles across various products at Unity & LoopMe. The CTO, Kuo-chin, PhD, joined recently with 20 years of experience in Computer Vision from Appen and XMotors. Lastly, Mehmet, a self-taught technical artist and game developer, co-founded and sold Gram Games to Zynga in 2018.

According to testimonials, Layer significantly enhances artist teams’ productivity, accelerating art delivery to meet deadlines. Tripledot Studios experienced a 3X increase in production speed and improved quality, reducing reliance on outsourcing studios and saving costs. Other creators also praise Layer for its speed and variety, aiding creativity in exploring new ideas.

“Layer supercharges artist teams’ productivity by 240% and helps expedite the delivery of art to meet deadlines,” says a Production Lead at Games United. Tripledot Studios also attests to Layer’s impact, stating that it 3Xed their production speed and elevated quality, saving costs and bringing art production in-house.

The CEO, Volkan Gurel, emphasizes that Layer is committed to being creator-first, enterprise-ready, and model-agnostic. The company focuses on perfecting 2D generation in games for mobile and AAA studios, with plans to expand into generating spine and sprite animations, 3D workflows, and integrations into non-gaming workflows like marketing and advertising.

Layer’s dedication to style-consistent output quality, seamless workflow integrations, and commitment to freeing artists from redundant workflow overheads positions it as a key player in the AI revolution for gaming. The CRO, Burcu Ozcengiz, expresses the company’s goal of being the easiest tool to onboard with and the fastest to ROI. Layer, since its launch in February 2023, already serves numerous top-tier clients like Tripledot, Sciplay, Mag Interactive, and hundreds of professional artists. The company is also working towards achieving SOC 2 and ISO certification to further solidify the security and reliability of its offering for the enterprise.

Commenting on the funding, Maria Kochmola, General Partner at The Games Fund, said: “Being deeply rooted in game development we see pivotal changes coming to production with Gen-AI tools coming into play. We are not big fans of the idea of flooding the market with soulless content and Layer.AI sets itself apart by aiming to enhance, not replace, human artistry, liberating creators from mundane tasks. That is what we all believe in. We also like that their focus is on enterprise clients and their real needs for seamless integration into existing production pipelines.”