tentaclezone incubator

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

Programme dates: To be announced

Application Window:  To be announced. Click the button below to meet our previous cohorts!

tentaclezone incubator

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

Programme dates: To be announced

Application Window:  
To be announced. Click the buttons below to meet our previous cohorts!

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

Featuring ten titles from early stage development to upcoming launches, the incubator showcase has just a selection of presentations from the founders as they introduce their games.

The line-up includes:

Wholesome – Out and About | Nature life sim, 

Yaldi Games

Schrodinger’s Catgirl | Mystery adventure game

Spider Lily Studios

Maive | Narrative adventure game

Flightful Pear

Days Lost | Mystery adventure game

Wordplay Games

Growbot | 2D robot adventure

Wabisabi Play

Sea of Leaves | Contemplative PC and console game

The Sea and the Forest

As yet untitled | 2D narrative puzzle game

Clockwork Raven Studios

Tap Tricks | One button skateboard game

BBBlaster | rogue-lite space shooter with dogs

Gesinimo Games

Squishy Sports | 2D party game


Hosted by award-winning presenter and journalist, Elle Osili-Wood

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


Applicants are encouraged from the all over the world.

What we offer

The programme 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 programme. As places are sponsored, there will be no cost to you for joining the programme.

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 be announced later this year. 

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. We couldn’t deliver such a strong program without their support!

Melissa Philips

Head of Studio, Silver Rain Games

Russell Clarke

Founder and CEO, Payload Studios

Helen Jones

Managing Director, Noisy Communications

Moo Yu

Co-Founder and Programmer, Foam Sword

Astrid Rosemarin

Communications Director, New World Interactive

Vincent Scheurer 

Founder and Operations Director,
Payload Studios

Aj Grand-Scrutton 

CEO, Dlala studios

Matthew White

CEO, Whitethorn Games

Des Gayle

Head of Production, Fellow Traveller

Julia Kenny

Head of Content Strategy, Headup GmbH

Kris Skellorn

Principal Designer, Payload Studios

Leon Killin

EDI Manager, Sumo Group

Kat Welsford

Digital Analytics, Square Enix

Mark Backler

Founder, Sketchbook Games

Ellie Ball

Marketing Manager, Marvelous

Albert Marshall

Founder, Marshall Media Affairs LLP

Phil Elliott

CEO,Modern Wolf 

Khally Saarman-Jones

Director of People and Culture, Payload Studios

Sarah Burns

Head of Production and Operations, Marvelous Europe

Anisa Sanusi

UI/UX Designer and Founder of LimitBreak

Jeff Sparks

Senior Game Designer, Epic Games Publishing

Karen Yun

Events & Game Hubs Manager, Payload Studios

Albert Marshall

Founder, Marshall Media Affairs LLP

Darrenlloyd Gent

Programme Leader and Principal Lecturer, Games and Digital Media at University of Greenwich

Andy Watson

COO, Hutch

Ian Masters

Founder and CEO of Flick Games & Co-founder of Out Making Games (OMG)

Maria Sayans

CEO, ustwo games

Oliver Kicks

Principal, RLC Ventures 

Andrew Smith

CEO, Spilt Milk Studios

Nisha Valand

Tentacle Zone Workspace Programme Director, Payload Studios

Lucy Dove

Co-Director and Designer, The Dangerous Kitchen

Marc Melton

Managing Director, Marvelous Europe

James Dobrowski 

Managing Director, Sharkmob

Eva Field

PR Director, Noisy Communications

Dom Shaw

EDI Coordinator, Ukie

Jason Della Rocca

Co-founder, Execution Labs

Luke Gibson 

COO, Playmint


 Dan Bernardo

Game Director, Dreamnauts

Brian Wilson

Scout, Business Development, WhiteThorn Games

Fernando Rizo

Chief Sales and Business Development Officer, Raw Fury

Django Verbaant

Senior Software Developer

Christian-Peter Heimbach

Founder, Actioncy


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

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.

Applicants are encouraged from the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, between the GMT and +4 hours time zone. 

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 nisha@tentacle.zone

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 hello@tentacle.zone.

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.

With the support of our industry partners, we are able to ensure there is no cost for participants in the programme. 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.

You can find the application form here! For any accessibility issues with the application, please contact nisha@tentacle.zone.

If you have any further questions, please contact incubator@tentacle.zone 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 incubator@tentacle.zone