Los Angeles Business Journal

Ninja Metrics Raises $2.8 Million

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, November 11, 2013

An L.A. startup has raised a round of capital to bring its predictive analytics technology to the video gaming masses.

Ninja Metrics announced Monday that it has raised $2.8 million in series A funding from the Harvard Business School Angels of Los Angeles and the Tech Coast Angels.

The funding coincides with the release of Ninja's analytics platform, the Katana engine, which analyzes the actions of video gamers to determine which player is the most influential in driving friends to spend money on a game.

Ninja initially deployed the Katana engine for "Star Wars: The Old Republic," an online game developed by Redwood City's Electronic Arts. Katana was used to find players with the most social value, or influence over other players.

"We found who their most valuable players were and took actions to get them more players like that," said Ninja Chief Executive Dmitri Williams. "You might have a player that looks like he's only worth X amount, but he might have massive social value. It would be disastrous for the game if that player were to leave."

Ninja is now opening up its Katana engine as a self-service platform for gaming companies. The engine is available as software-as-a-service with a scaling price depending on the number of people playing a game.

Ninja is also hoping to expand beyond gaming. Williams said the same analytics could be used to determine who influences movie ticket sales or e-commerce purchases.

Williams co-founded Ninja Metrics at the University of Southern California. Today the company employs 16 people in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Williams said the company will probably look for additional funding by spring next year. Until then, he's looking to grow the company's early customer base.

"We offer a service that the world doesn't know exists," Williams said. "The analytics world is very competitive. Our big opportunity and challenge is to let them know we are here."