Digital Nature raises €1.5M to bring Moomin stories to life in an interactive showroom

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Digital Nature’s digital art and entertainment platform turns shopping center spaces into novel attractions. 

Finnish startup Digital Nature has raised €1.5M in seed funding to create new growth and attraction opportunities for shopping centres and other public venues. The round was led by renowned business angels, including Mikko Kodisoja and Visa Forsten, co-founders of Finnish decacorn Supercell. The funding will go towards developing their technology and building their first on-sight attraction in one of the most prestigious shopping centres in Helsinki, Finland, with the world-famous Moomin characters as the theme. 

Digital Nature creates digital attractions and interactive experiences for the hospitality industry. The company designs and develops content that transforms spaces via a digital art and entertainment delivery platform that uses a game engine that visualizes/simulates the physical site. The interactive installations are created with video projections, animations, set designs and multichannel audio.

The founding team has a strong background in game development and business – meaning Digital Nature Experience is not just an art exhibition, but a truly interactive and immersive space where visitors get to be part of the attraction and affect its activities. 

Our team has a strong vision of the next generation shopping centers, where visitors don’t just do their brick and mortar shopping but rather come and experience unique attractions with their friends and family.

With our premium licensed IPR, any empty, public space can be turned into profitable, immersive, and gamified experience.

says Mikko Honkakorpi, CEO and co-founder of Digital Nature. 
Digital Nature Moomin
Game engine visualisation of the Helsinki City Center site. Visualisation: Ari Nikula

If shopping centres were facing difficulties before the COVID-19 pandemic with e-commerce’s march forward with consumer’s spending behaviour, the pandemic’s effects have accelerated the change. Even if consumers were allowed to return to shopping centres, many got used to using online shopping and don’t necessarily feel the need to visit physical stores.

According to Retail Touchpoint, some of the most important strategic moves shopping centres need to make include finding new uses for unused spaces. Indoor malls were hit hard by the lockdown and shoppers’ reluctance to dawdle during shopping trips, but empty storefronts and parking lots can become homes for next-gen experiences. Digital Nature is the answer to this need. 

It was a natural choice for me to invest in Digital Nature, as I already have been developing an ambitious, immersive digital experience park that is a perfect fit with Digital Nature’s technology.

I strongly think that immersive, digital experiences can be created without VR glasses. I was also very convinced about the core team’s background and capabilities

says Mikko Kodisoja, one of the angel investors in the current funding round.

Unlike teamLab, Digital Nature has a platform approach with pre-defined tools and processes that enable any public space to become an attraction with the design that the owner of the space wants.

Digital Nature chose to collaborate with the world-famous Moomins from Tove Jansson when designing their first 1,500 square meters digital art space in the shopping centre Citycenter, across the street from Helsinki’s main train station.

Ever since I saw my first digital and interactive art shows, I’ve been hoping that the Moomin stories would be digitalized and built into an immersive art experience.

Digital Nature’s Moomin exhibition is a Finnish masterpiece of gamification and digitalization, and we can be proud to show this to an international audience.

The fact that this can be scaled into any vacant space is exhilarating. Helsinki is the perfect place for the first show because it is the creator’s Tove Jansson’s home city.

explains Rolf Kråkström, CEO of Moomin Characters Oy Ltd.
Digital Nature Site Simulation
Lead artist Antti Jäderholm and dramaturge Aino Pennanen working with the “Scary room” scale model at Digital Nature studios, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki. Photo: Jugi Kaartinen

The Moomins bring out a lot of memories for visitors from Scandinavia, Japan and to the UK.

Many of us grew up reading Moomin stories or watching Japanese animated series on television.

This is a unique chance for us, both children and adults, to experience our favourite characters in a digital form.

says Jugi Kaartinen, CDO and co-founder of Digital Nature. 
Digital Nature Team at City Center
Top Row: Ari Nikula (Producer), Tommi Väisänen (Game Developer), Mikko Honkakorpi (CEO & co-founder), Jugi Kaartinen (CDO & co-founder), Olli Berg (CTO) Front row: Antti Jäderholm (Lead Artist), Aino Pennanen (Dramaturge), Marianne Saloranta (Project manager) Photo: Ilpo Kemiaro

After Helsinki, Digital Nature is looking into options of taking its Moomin exhibition to the world, starting from Tokyo.