San Diego video game startup pulls in $7.5 million in venture capital

HiDef founders from top left: Dr. David Washington, Jace Hall, Anthony Castoro and Rick Fox.
HiDef founders from top left: Dr. David Washington, Jace Hall, Anthony Castoro and Rick Fox.
(Courtesy of HiDef Inc.)

Founded by entertainment and gaming industry veterans, HiDef will use the funds to develop its first flagship video game


HiDef Inc., a San Diego video game startup founded by entertainment industry veterans including former NBA champion Rick Fox, said Wednesday that it has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round of venture capital funding.

Wick Capital Partners of Philadelphia led the funding round, which brings the total amount raised by HiDef to $9 million since it opened its doors in 2019.

HiDef will use the money to ramp up development of its first flagship game, which is still in stealth mode, said Co-founder and Chief Executive Anthony Castoro. He declined to discuss further details.

But in a statement, HiDef described the game as “a genre-defining metaverse that places users of all ages at the creative center of its daily programming.”

Castoro has 25 years of experience in the video gaming industry, including working as general manager for Daybreak Game Co.’s H1Z1 Battle Royale franchise. (Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, is an investor in Daybreak Game Co.)

Castoro left San Diego-based DayBreak in 2018. He now runs Protagonist Games, a contract game studio and technology consultant for non-gaming companies.

About 25 Protagonist designers are working with HiDef’s founders to create a prototype for the new game. With the funding, Castoro said HiDef “expects to see pretty significant growth in the organization.”

Fox, formerly with the Los Angeles Lakers, founded a now-defunct e-sports organization called Echo Fox. Castoro met him through an H1Z1 e-sports pro league. Fox serves as HiDef’s chief business development officer.

Jace Hall is HiDef’s chief creative officer. Hall led Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, where he oversaw the development of game franchises such as The Matrix, DC Comics and Harry Potter.

Social impact expert Dr. David Washington, a former aide in the Obama administration, is HiDef’s chief impact officer. He is head of Partnerships for Purpose, a social impact adviser for the entertainment industry, including game developer Electronic Arts.