Backbone’s mobile gaming controller has received a $40 million funding round from celebrities.

I used to travel a lot for business before the outbreak. My over-the-years-honed bag packing list was pretty well fixed in stone. Backbone’s iPhone gaming controller is one of a few new additions to that list in recent years. It’s a fantastic gaming experience on the move, and it’s well worth the space it takes up in your bag.

It appears that I am not the only one who likes it. The firm just announced the completion of a $40 million funding round, which included contributions from The Weeknd, Post Malone, and Diddy.

Maneet Khaira, the company’s creator, was an intern at YouTube in 2018. “Every single day,” he recalls, he’d arrive home from work and begin playing Fortnite with his pals — nearly usually on their phones, as that was the only device they all shared. Although the touchscreen interface was frustrating, it allowed them to play together.

He created a presentation after witnessing samples of what cloud gaming may bring to mobile devices, claiming that gaming “will be the single largest opportunity for Google in the next decade.” Maneet devised a script to automatically send it to the company’s VPs on Monday morning in the hopes that it would be read — by the time he woke up, he claims, hundreds of people had looked at it.

One of those vice presidents invited Maneet to give a presentation to his staff in person.
“I recognized there may be an opportunity to construct something extraordinary somewhere in that discourse,” Maneet adds. His internship came to a finish on time, and he dove right into the development of Backbone.

Backbone’s objective is to be an all-in-one center for gaming on the go, beyond the one (excellent!) peripheral it’s released thus far.

Backbone hopes to accomplish for mobile gaming what Roku did for video and Sonos did for music by putting all of the services together in one location. Games that operate on the device, games that run in the cloud, games that run on your console at home and games that are streamed remotely.

Backbone+, an optional premium membership service that offers additional functionality, high-quality gameplay recording, Twitch broadcasting compatibility, and more, is designed with this in mind. Backbone+ is free for the platform’s early adopters; it costs roughly $50 per year for newer users.

So, what exactly are people doing with Backbone’s hardware? Maneet tells me that they’ve noticed a substantial audience of people using it for remote play — that is, streaming games from your next-gen console to your phone or tablet, whether you’re on a break at work or just don’t want to tie up the living room TV.

He also claims that they’ve begun to gain a following among casual gamers. He explains, “This may be someone’s first dedicated gaming gadget.” “We’ve seen that in our stats as well.” It’s being used by people who don’t consider themselves ‘core gamers,’ or even self-identify as gamers.”

Index Ventures led the current investment, a $40 million Series A. The Weeknd, Kevin Hart, Post Malone, Diddy, Amy Schumer, and Marshmello are among the celebrities who have funded it, including Ashton Kutcher (through his Sound Ventures fund), The Weeknd, Kevin Hart, Post Malone, Diddy, Amy Schumer, and Marshmello. Discord co-founder Jason Citron, Rec Room co-founder Nick Fajt, and Sonos CEO Patrick Spence are among the tech investors, according to the business.