Ex-Rovio exec launches animation startup

Former Rovio head of content strategy Nick Dorra has opened Haruworks, a new Finnish animation startup that will develop and produce original, multiplatform TV shows for preschoolers and kids.\

The company will begin initial conversations about its development slate at Kidscreen in Miami, with view to presenting the final slate at MIP TV this April.

The company is based in Helsinki and is focused on building international character brands with Nordic flair. The slate currently comprises four TV shows across various age groups from pre-school to eight years old.

Haruworks embraces a Scandinavian style of story-telling and Nordic design, taking inspiration from the works of Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson.

As founder, producer and CEO, Dorra has put together an initial slate of four yet-to-be-announced TV projects aligned with the company’s strategy of creating international character brands that embrace Scandinavian storytelling styles and Nordic designs. Concepts will be inspired by the works of children’s book author Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking) and writer/artist Tove Jansson (The Moomins).

“We are delighted to officially launch and start conversations about our slate at Kidscreen,” said Dorra.

“Haruworks has been founded with the mission to create content that is worth your child’s precious time and attention. Experience tells us that kids and parents long for safe, witty and non-condescending stories and that’s what we are offering.

Dorra will work alongside former child psychologist Maija Arpone, who has been named head of development at Haruworks. The startup has also assembled an advisory board of industry experts that includes Frederator Networks CEO Fred Seibert, CAKE Entertainment CEO and creative director Tom Van Waveren, eOne Family’s Nick Gawne and Original Talent’s Simon Flamank.

The company launched after raising an undisclosed sum in a successful investment round. Haruworks will hold initial discussions about its development slate at Kidscreen Summit next week.

Dorra spent four years at Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment, most recently leading acquisitions for the company’s Toons TV VOD platform and global sales of Rovio’s animation catalog. After Rovio, he worked at New York-based mobile video startup Thirty Labs. Along with Haruworks, Dorra continues to run Nick Dorra Productions, a separate consultancy business that’s currently in development on Zombie Catchers, a mobile game-based 2D-animated series with Finnish developer Two Men and a Dog.

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