Rubicon crosses into Western markets

Jordan-based Rubicon hopes that a $2.7 million injection of capital will help it become a major supplier of offshore computer animation services.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 13, 2003

Rubicon, the Jordan-based multimedia and computer animation company, has received a US $2.7 million injection of cash from a broad sweep of investors. The new money will help finance the company’s ambitious plan to become a provider of computer animation services to major Western producers.

“The purpose of this capital round is to build up the capacity of the company — to get training in the United States, [purchase] new equipment, hire new people and increase our digital media capacity,” explains Randa Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon.

Rubicon is making its computer animation services available to Western producers through its partnership with Los Angeles-based Fat Rock Entertainment, founded by one of the creators of Bart Simpson and a former head of MGM Animation.

Fat Rock will assist Rubicon on several fronts, providing it with training, acting as an agent for Rubicon in the USA and working with it directly on joint animated productions. Fat Rock is currently involved in creating animated films, with budgets of $5-10 million, based on famous children’s characters such as Noddy.

Rubicon is starting out with low level animation work and the aim is to build up the amount that it does as its expertise and capacity increases.

“When you’re talking theatrical quality animation, you’re talking of a quality that doesn’t [yet] exist in the Middle East,” explains Ayoubi.

“What we’re trying to do is build our capacity, through direct supervision by Fat Rock, to a level where we can take on theatrical quality animation. We start with five minutes [animation work], build that up to ten and so on.”

The company currently has around 50 employees, but aims to increase that to 200 by the end of 2003. Rubicon will look to recruit from the job-starved local market and training will be provided on packages such as Maya where necessary.

The company hopes to eventually generate $9-12 million a year in revenue though its joint animation work with Fat Rock. If Rubicon's plans come to fruition, the next computer animated blockbuster may have 'Made in Jordan' written on it somewhere.

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