Gaming startups in Europe landed $1.8 billion in investments in 2022, according to data from Dealroom. Not quite at the level of 2021 – when $2.7 billion was raised – but it’s still a huge jump from the $769 million raised in 2020.
VCs’ strong appetite for games is partly due to the hype of the metaverse. In the first half of 2021, metaverse and Web3 companies got more investment than any other gaming sub-sector in Europe.
So is the metaverse still a focus for some of Europe’s top gaming investors? Not enough. We reached out to four top funds to ask which startups they are currently interested in, and the results span mobile, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), educational games and more.
Here’s who investors picked.
Harry Hamer, Director — London Venture Partners (LVP)
London-based LVP announced an $80 million fund in 2019 and invests in PC, console, mobile and Web3 businesses. The fund says it prefers genres that have the potential to reach large audiences, that “find the fine line between engagement and accessibility.” Investments include Clash of Clans development studio Supercell, game development software engine Unity and online multiplayer game studio Klang.
Edtech is a tough problem to solve, but I think the application of game techniques and mechanics, alongside the games themselves, has enormous potential to advance learning for all ages. 99math offers a simple math game with a unique go-to-market strategy, with the real promise of creating a broader educational platform for teachers, parents and children.
Games have a head start when it comes to performance marketing and user acquisition analytics. Ramp seeks to provide this tool not only to small developers, but also to companies in other verticals. They solve a pain point in financial planning and analysis and marketing coordination, providing a platform to integrate these hitherto disconnected spreadsheets into one easily accessible platform.
Games have always been social spaces, but translating that to mobile has always been difficult. Jarvi is bringing a Grand Theft Auto-style MMO (massively multiplayer online game) experience to mobile through Vice Online and is already having strong organic and viral growth despite its open beta.
One of the portfolio: Vela Games
We led the Vela round of 2020. The founders are former EA and Riot veterans Travis George, CEO of Vela, part of League of Legends’ first leadership team. The company has an ambitious vision to create a new genre of games in the underserved co-op space: starting with its new game Evercore Heroes, which has already welcomed 10,000 players for its latest playtest.
Diana Koziarska and Borys Musielak, Partners – SMOK Ventures
Warsaw-based SMOK Ventures launched its first €10 million fund in 2019 and backs pre-seed and seed-stage software and game companies. In games, the fund said it focuses on supporting studios, emphasizing “long-term cooperation”. His investments include game developer Exit Plan Studios, cloud game studio Return Entertainment and gaming energy supplement startup Gaminate.
The AI voice companion for League of Legends. Gitgut is a Prague-based studio that listens to its users and develops the product in close collaboration with them. The product is built around the growing market for AI voice companions and game-enhancing tools.fun experience.
Olympics is a web3 game development platform based in Poland. They lower the technical threshold for creating a new generation of games, helping game creators focus on things they know, shortening delivery times for new games, and giving them new methods of monetization.
Mirowni is a Ukrainian game studio that creates PC and AR/VR games. Even in these difficult times of the Russian invasion, the company takes care of its team and continues to deliver products and work on its own titles.
One from the portfolio: Madcore Games
A team of veterans on a mission to create the world’s first cooperative mid-core action RPG experience. They love their numbers, build games with a data-driven approach, iterate quickly, and find new ways for players to play together.
Jere Partanen, Partner — Sisu Game Ventures
Helsinki-based Sisu launched a $55 million fund in 2021 and invests primarily in free-to-play mobile games. Sisu said her thesis “revolves around building long-term relationships with serial entrepreneurs in the industry”, and that she tends to focus on game studios more than supporting technology or platforms. forms. Sisu’s investments include Tokyo-based studio Playco, AR/VR developer Resolution Games and franchise game developer Next Games.
This self-funded team of veteran Polish developers and entrepreneurs created Superbright after a stint in Silicon Valley. “In Death: Unchained” launched two years ago to critical acclaim and is still topping the charts on the Oculus Store, so we’re excited to see what the studio comes up with next.
Ghost Game Labs
While there isn’t much information available yet, we’re particularly interested in the team as they previously held leadership positions at companies like Unity, Zynga, Kopla Games, Rovio, and Digital Chocolate. In addition to focusing on creating “mid-core” mobile titles, the team is exploring new ways to develop and promote games to address recent market changes and user acquisition issues.
This latest foray from a team that has created many games and development tools goes far beyond the usual spreadsheets and static diagrams to help developers design, simulate and balance game systems and economies. Free-to-play studios can benefit from the tool, but we find it particularly useful for web3 games, where even the smallest mistakes in economic design can prove fatal.
One of the portfolio: Cosmic Lounge
The Cosmic Lounge team has been involved in two releases and has built nine of the current 60 highest-grossing mobile puzzle games from companies like King, Seriously, Rovio and Kabam. The studio aims to revolutionize the free mobile development process using its proprietary platform and methods that go way beyond what we’ve seen from other studios.
Carl Fritjofsson, General Partner — Creandum
Stockholm-based Creandum announced a $500 million fund in March 2022. The fund is industry-agnostic, but its games investments include online learning platform Kahoot!, mobile game developer Small Giant Studios and the Playraven multiplayer games studio.
Rocky Road builds a casual mobile game that anchors you in the real world. It has the scale and potential to become the first game with over a billion active users.
The studio behind Ember Sword, one of the most impressive Web3 MMO initiatives.
The most ambitious and impressive cloud gaming project ever. Build the most beautiful and engaging virtual world we’ve seen!
One of the portfolio: Resolution Games
Resolution Games is a Stockholm-based studio that creates AR/VR gaming experiences. We supported them in 2015 and they are still going strong.
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