Former Weta Digital Staff’s VFX Startup Floating Rock Studios Secures Seed Funding (EXCLUSIVE)

Former Weta Digital Staff’s VFX Startup Floating Rock Studios Secures Seed Funding (EXCLUSIVE)

August 22, 2022

Auckland, New Zealand-based financier Hillfarrance Venture Capital is backing a team of former Weta Digital staff in their new VFX venture Wellington-based Floating Rock Studios.

Founded in 2020 by Laurent Herveic, Lukas Niklaus, Stephanie Parker and Garrick Rawlingson, Floating Rock Studios bills itself as a high-end animation and VFX provider for movies, commercials and video game cinematics.

The technology unit of Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital was acquired by games development platform Unity Software in late 2021 for $1.63 billion.

The founders of Floating Rock have combined experience includes on films for major studios including “Aladdin,” “The Angry Birds Movie,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “The Hobbit 3,” “Hotel Transylvania,” “Justice League,” “Jungle Book,” “Peter Rabbit 2,” “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which won an Oscar for best animated feature film.”

Hillfarrance is a NZ$35 million ($21.6 million) early-stage venture fund investing in audacious Kiwi founders developing innovations at the cutting edge of media, artificial intelligence and climate change. Its injection of NZ$1 million ($925,000) into Floating Rock in a seed funding round is said to be crucial to the firm’s ability to scale up and work on its roster of upcoming projects.

“When we started investing in New Zealand entrepreneurs, we were convinced that there was a wealth of audacious and exceptional talent within the local, highly prestigious VFX sector,” said Rob Vickery, managing partner and founder of Hillfarrance.

“When we heard that [the Floating Rock founders] had left Weta to build a next-generation VFX studio, focusing on a cloud-based model and working extensively in the gaming sector, we dove in head first. The cherry on top was that they have already achieved a seven-figure revenue run rate without raising a cent of capital.” 

“Our industry is at the brink of a new renaissance and its future will be driven by those who have attracted the best artists – and with that, the best ideas. We are building our infrastructure to empower our team and unleash their full potential, and to build an artist’s dream company,” said the Floating Rock team.

“We have so much in the planning stages that will expand our customer pipeline, our IP development and our talented team that this new alignment with Hillfarrance is certain to make a seismic change to our company’s growth. As our newly appointed lead financier, we appreciate their principles that focus on genuinely investing in the people that make up our team at Floating Rock. We know this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, New Zealand-style.”

Floating Rock’s sizzle reel can be viewed here:

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