Peter S. Cohan: Two Becker gaming companies win StartUp Worcester berths

posted: Jun 15, 2015

Petricore Games

Mr. Canuel is a Swansea native who came to Becker because “it was listed as one of the top game design programs in the world. I wanted to do game design and be close to home.”

He majored in Interactive Entertainment with a focus on game design and decided that now was the time to do what he wanted. As he said, “Life’s pretty short (until some other startup figures out how to fix that).”

Mr. Canuel started Petricore Games – of which he is co-founder and CEO – because he wanted to impress others with his skill and have creative control. “We want to build something to impress the mega successful huge game companies and people we respect at those companies. [Our] ability to build what we want is much greater with us running the company,” he said.

Petricore Games targets the $26 billion mobile gaming market.

Petricore Games’s team includes six people with help from advisors Monty Sharma and Tim Loew of MassDiGI.

Mr. Canuel is proud of his team. His co-founder, Aaron Lin’s “dedication and willingness to go beyond what was required to make sure the company succeeded made it obvious that he was someone that I should be a partner with,” said Mr. Canuel.

Mr. Canuel refers to his other team members as “rock stars.”

“Artist Christina Andriano won the award for top artist at Becker College in 2015; programmer/designer Oliver Awat was Becker’s 2015 valedictorian; user interface programmer James Spavold has been a lead or sole programmer on several projects, and programmer Chris Bruno was lead programmer with me on a project of about 30 people,” explained Mr. Canuel.

Petricore Games is financing itself by “doing contract work that involves building applications – including one for a Harvard vascular surgeon, games, graphic designs, and websites.”

Petricore Games gives away a game called Mind the Arrow (though users can pay 99 cents for an advertising-free version.) “If you’re a fan of puzzle games and want to show your friends and the world how good you are at them, Mind the Arrow is the game for you,” said Mr. Canuel.

I am thrilled that Mr. Canuel wants to stay in Worcester. As he said, “Becker College and WPI are both near the top of Princeton Review’s list of the world’s top game design schools; but most of the game jobs are found in the Boston area. Our goal is to change that and allow students who graduate and attend these schools to find quality work at [Worcester-area] companies that are known all over the world.”

Zephyr Workshop and Petricore Games sound to me like companies whose success would benefit Worcester. They offer valuable products to large markets and could tap Becker and WPI for the talent needed to fuel new products – creating more jobs in the heart of Massachusetts.

Peter Cohan of Marlboro heads a management consulting and venture capital firm and teaches business strategy and entrepreneurship at Babson College. His email address is peter@petercohan.com.

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