tentaclezone incubator

3 month virtual games incubator programme for early stage developers from underrepresented groups (zero cost to participants).

Programme dates:  Feb – May 2024

Application Window:   Application closed

tentaclezone incubator

3 month virtual global games incubator program for early stage devs from underrepresented groups (zero cost to participants).

Program dates: Feb – May 2024

Application Window:  
 Application closed

Early stage game developers from underrepresented backgrounds across the world are welcome to apply.

Meet our alumni 

Our mission to drive positive change

We launched the first iteration of the Tentacle Zone Incubator 2 years ago, and have since supported 24 early stage game developers from around the world! If you are from an underrepresented group, and want to build a sustainable games studio, we hope that our program can help with the fundamentals and match you up to a relevant mentor to help.

We are particularly interested in applications from underrepresented groups including, but not limited to POC, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, LGBTQ+, underrepresented genders (cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary and and other non-cisgender identities), disabilities and neurodiversities.

By partnering with likeminded industry partners, we hope that this games incubator program will be an opportunity to leverage our Tentacle Zone initiative to enact positive change within our studio and the wider industry.

We know that we don’t always get it right and the journey to achieve a more inclusive industry is a long one, but it’s one that we believe in and are committed to.

Payload Studios is offering places on the incubator program completely free of charge to indies. We welcome applications from early stage founders who are from one or more underrepresented groups including:

POC (people of colour)

Lower socioeconomic backgrounds

Underrepresented genders (cis women, non-binary, trans women, trans men and other non-cisgender identities)

Individuals with disabilities

Individuals with neurodiversities


Open to global early stage game developers from underrepresented groups.

What we offer

The program will include five tracks and be co-curated with participants, industry and our academic partner.

Business & Finance

Team Building

Design, Development & Production

Marketing & PR

Pitching & Public Speaking Support

Business & Finance

Team Building

Design, Development & Production

Marketing & PR

Pitching & Public Speaking Support

What you’ll get out of it

We want to strap a rocket to your business and help you with technical know-how, mentoring and connections throughout the program. As places are sponsored by Payload Studios, there will be no cost to you for joining the program.

Weekly engagement with industry experts across 5 tracks

CPD certification awarded via University of Greenwich

Access to publishers and investors

Access to mentors

Peer-to-peer learning with cohort and existing Tentacle Zone residents

Virtual community, recorded sessions and supporting materials

The application process

Applications for the Tentacle Zone Incubator Program will start on 8th November 2023. 

Fill in application form

Shortlisting & panel review

All applicants notified of decision

Successful applicants join incubator

Fill in application form

Shortlisting & panel review

All applicants notified of decision

Successful applicants join incubator

Mentors & Industry Facilitators

We have built an incredible network of global games industry mentors and tutors who are central to making our incubator program a success. Thanks to their support we are able to deliver a strong program!

Russell Clarke

Founder and CEO, Payload Studios

Sarah Burns

Head of Production and Operations, Marvelous Europe

Moo Yu

Co-Founder and Programmer, Foam Sword

Marc Melton

Managing Director, Marvelous Europe

Astrid Rosemarin

Communications Director, Saber Interactive

Julia Kenny

Head of Content Strategy, Headup GmbH

Matthew White

CEO, Whitethorn Games

Aj Grand-Scrutton 

CEO, Dlala studios

Vincent Scheurer 

Founder and Operations Director,
Payload Studios

Anisa Sanusi

UI/UX Designer and Founder of LimitBreak

Daniela Pietrosanu

Communication Manager, Marvelous Europe 

Leon Killin

Head of Inclusion & Belonging, Sumo Group

Callum Underwood

Director, Uwu Advisory  Co-founder, IndieBI

Kris Skellorn

Principal Designer, Payload Studios

Kat Welsford

Digital Analytics, Square Enix

Julian Hühnermann 

Start-Up & Game Consulting, JH Ventures 

Phil Elliott

CEO, Modern Wolf 

Des Gayle

Head of Production, Fellow Traveller

Alberto Belli 

Founder & CEO, Games Interactive

Khally Saarman-Jones

Director of People and Culture, Payload Studios

Jeff Sparks

Senior Game Designer, Epic Games Publishing

Helen Jones

Managing Director, Noisy Communications

Giulia Zamboni

Supermassive Games, Lead Producer

Jon Weinel

Academic Portfolio Leader, University of Greenwich

Maria Sayans

CEO, ustwo games

Karen Yun

Events & Game Hub Manager, Payload Studios

Oliver Kicks

Principal, RLC Ventures 

Tim Gatland

CEO, Rivet Game

Seyed Nasrollahi

Founder, Unifiq Games

Nisha Valand

Tentacle Zone Workspace Program Director, Payload Studios

Aaron Morley

Lead Product Manager, Sumo Digital

Lucy Dove

Co-Director and Designer, The Dangerous Kitchen

James Dobrowski 

Managing Director, Sharkmob

Eva Field

PR Director, Noisy Communications

Felix Wong

Partner, Lvl Up Partners

Jason Della Rocca

Co-founder, Execution Labs

Dan Bernardo

Game Director, Dreamnauts

Luke Gibson 

COO, Playmint


Albert Marshall

Founder, Marshall Media Business Affairs

Brian Wilson

Portfolio Director, WhiteThorn Games

Christian-Peter Heimbach

Founder, Actioncy

Karen Yun

Events & Game Hub Manager, Payload Studios


No, it is completely free, there is no cost for participants on the program.

This is our third year running the incubator program which is focused on early stage founders from underrepresented groups from around the world. You must have strong internet access as all sessions are delivered virtually. Ideally, those who apply will have some experience of game development and need focused support and networks to help take their business / game / team to the next stage.

Applications are open to early stage game developers around the world.

We are interested in applications from founders who identify with one or more underrepresented groups such as POC, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, underrepresented genders (cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary and other non-cisgender identities), LGBTQ+, disabilities and neurodiversities. 

This list is not exhaustive and we will not always get it right, if there is a group missing, please contact us at [email protected]

Absolutely! We already have an existing community of Tentacle Zone residents who benefit from a weekly programme of support and who will also have access to the incubator when it is launched. We believe that the peer-to-peer learning within the cohort and regular contact with more established companies will enable more knowledge sharing to benefit participants. Please contact us on [email protected].

You can find out more in the mentors and tutors section, but we are lucky enough to have a diverse range of industry folks who will contribute to all elements of the programme. These includes our partners, individuals from Payload Studios (creators of TerraTech), as well as contribution from our existing Tentacle Zone Residents who are based in our co-working space in London. We also have a number of industry professionals who are passionate about diversity and inclusion and who have, themselves, faced challenges (being part of underrepresented groups) either running businesses or working in the games industry.

The key dates are:

  • Application open: 8th Nov 2023
  • Application close: 11th Jan 2024 at 5.00pm GMT
  • Program dates: Feb – May 2024

With the support of our industry partners, we are able to ensure there is no cost for participants in the program. However, we aren’t able to offer any further financial support and we do not take equity in any of the businesses. We are not a publisher or an investor, we are just trying to help you on your indie journey.

We expect founders to be available usually around 12pm – 2pm GMT, and participate in live group sessions which are delivered virtually.

If you must miss a session, we will record the content where possible and make these available to participants right after the session.

Please see ‘what you’ll get out of the program’ for more information. Aside from a practical toolkit and industry connections, we want to strap a rocket to your business and help you make progress with your game and business growth. You will also receive CPD certification via the University of Greenwich.

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals & students engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive.

Engaging in Continuing Professional Development ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.

We will put out the application form upon announcement, stay turn! For any accessibility issues with the application, please contact [email protected].

Please email Nisha at [email protected] for any further queries!

If you have any further questions, please contact [email protected] for more information.

Apply here!

The deadline to apply for this first cohort is 24th February 2021 by 5.00pm. If you have any accessibility issues with the application, please contact us at [email protected]