24/12/2018 – Play Ventures, a Singaporean venture capital firm has raised US$22.4 million of its targeted US$40 million debut fund targeting gaming startups. The funding has been raised from 10 limited partners or investors in the vehicle, including MTG, an online games publisher and developer.
Play Ventures is a newly-formed vc firm run by Harri Manninen from Helsinki and Henric Suuronen from Singapore. Both founders are active entrepreneurs and investors in the gaming industry, and will invest capital from the fund in early-stage startups operating in the games and gaming services space from across the world.
“Everything we invest in will be gaming, and that includes mobile and PC, streaming, marketing, user acquisition, data, and game studios. We’re pretty comfortable going in early,” said Harri Manninen, the founding partner at Play Ventures.
“The goal is to find the best gaming founders and join them at an early stage as they make the games of tomorrow,” Manninen added.
Most importantly, the fund will target mobile and PC free-to-play startups and other gaming startups that are looking for more than just money.
Play Ventures hopes to invest in six to eight startups a year with a ticket size of US$500K, potentially making it one of the most active game investors.
“Gaming companies are fairly brave in trying new things,” he said. “The scale for games is so massive that gaming can help establish a new platform using a new technology. Gaming can help establish new business models. But you have to look past the hype to the team.”
Manninen previously co-founded Shark Punch, as well as Rocket Pack which Disney acquired in 2011. He also started a Nordic XR startups pre-seed accelerator in Helsinki with partners Gumi and Nordsik Film. The accelerator invested into 10 portfolio companies, including Mighty Bear Games, Matchmade, and Starberry Games.
Suuronen, on the other hand, was the co-founder of Nonstop Games, which was acquired by King in 2014. He has also personally invested in various startups such as Huuuge Games, Futureplay Games, and Matchmade.
When talking about cross-industry, Manninen said he liked the idea of a startup combining gaming with other verticals like artificial intelligence or other technologies. However he is wary of some new categories like cryptocurrency and games, as yet to be seen how the mass market will embrace crypto.
“Whenever there is something new, it tends to get over-invested,” he said. “But it’s a testament to the power of gaming that new platforms that keep rising. If you invested in VR three years ago, you might have gotten burned. But now it is picking up.”
Play Ventures is not likely to invest in esports teams, but it could invest in technologies that promote competitive gaming.
Manninen added, “Gaming is such a global industry. You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley. Just looking at the top-grossing games, you see teams come in various shapes and sizes from all over. That’s why our scope will be global.”