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List of funds for gaming startups to watch out in 2023

18 Jul, 2023
Startup world would be nothing without funds that help budget their wildest ideas

Startup world would be nothing without funds that help budget their wildest ideas.The gametech industry has emerged as a significant player in the startup ecosystem by capturing the attention of entrepreneurs, investors, and gamers alike. With its unique blend of technology and entertainment, gametech startups have gained remarkable traction in recent years. This article explores the top 20 funds for gametech startups in 2023, showcasing the growing interest and investment in this dynamic sector.

Funding plays a pivotal role in enabling startups to fuel their growth and innovation. For gametech startups, funding is particularly crucial due to the high development costs and the need for continuous innovation to stay competitive. It empowers these startups to push the boundaries of technology, develop cutting-edge gaming experiences, and enhance user engagement. Without adequate funding, gametech startups may struggle to realize their full potential and bring their creative visions to life.

Publishers vs Investors

I can’t start the topic of funding in startups without mentioning the difference between those two. In the game industry, two primary business models exist: investors and publishers. Publishers collaborate with game developers by providing financial support, marketing assistance, and distribution resources. In return, publishers typically gain exclusive rights to publish and distribute the game, as well as a share of the game’s sales revenue.

Prominent examples of publishers in the game industry include:

Publishers vs Investors
  • Electronic Arts (EA)
  • Devolver Digital
  • Team17 Digital
  • tinyBuild
  • 11 bit Studios

Investors, on the other hand, offer funding to game developers in exchange for an equity stake in the company or future revenue. Their primary focus is on achieving a financial return on their investment, whereas publishers are more invested in ensuring the game’s success. In some cases, a publisher may also act as an investor, blurring the lines between their roles.

One key distinction between investors and publishers is their level of involvement in game development. Investors generally adopt a more hands-off approach, allowing the developers to drive the creative process. In contrast, publishers tend to be more actively engaged, as they strive to ensure the game meets quality standards and aligns with their marketing strategies. Publishers often exert influence over various aspects of the game, including mechanics and narrative elements.

While both investors and publishers play essential roles in the game industry, their motivations and levels of involvement differ. Investors prioritize financial returns, while publishers contribute funding and actively participate in shaping the game to maximize its commercial success.

Types of investors

Types of investors

When seeking for investments in gametech/gaming industry I noticed some types of investors that appear more than others. That includes:

  1. Angels: Angel investors are affluent individuals who contribute smaller amounts of capital to newly established startups. They often have a personal connection to the company or its founders, and their investment approach is typically more hands-off compared to other funding sources. While angel investors may invest smaller amounts compared to venture funds, they possess extensive knowledge about the game industry and can offer valuable mentorship to startups.
  2. Venture Capitals (VCs): Venture capitals are entities that aggregate funds from multiple investors and deploy them to invest in more established companies. Unlike angel investors, venture funds actively engage with the companies they invest in and prioritize generating returns for their shareholders. These funds typically allocate larger amounts of capital compared to angel investors.
  3. Equity crowdfunding: Equity crowdfunding is a crowdfunding method that enables individuals to invest money in a company in exchange for an ownership stake. This funding approach can be beneficial for game developers seeking capital from a larger pool of investors. However, it is less prevalent compared to “rewards-based” crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where backers receive non-equity rewards.

In this article, I would rather discuss the first 2 types of investment as it seems more reliable to me and also is less regulated by the government.

In the startup funding landscape, various stages of financing are available to companies as they progress and reach different milestones. Here’s a breakdown of some common funding stages and how they differ:

Breakdown of some common funding stages
  • Pre-Seed: The pre-seed stage is the earliest phase of a startup’s journey, often involving the initial development of the business concept or prototype. At this stage, funding is typically obtained from personal savings, friends and family, or angel investors. Pre-seed funding helps founders validate their idea, conduct market research, and build a minimum viable product (MVP).
  • Seed: The seed stage follows the pre-seed stage and involves raising additional capital to further develop the product or service and scale the startup. Seed funding is usually secured from angel investors, venture capital firms, or specialized seed funds. Startups in the seed stage typically focus on refining their business model, expanding their team, and acquiring their initial customer base.
  • Series A: Series A funding is the next significant financing round after the seed stage. It typically occurs when a startup has achieved certain milestones, such as demonstrating market traction, generating revenue, or gaining a significant user base. Series A funding is usually provided by venture capital firms and involves larger investment amounts to fuel the startup’s growth, enhance its infrastructure, and expand into new markets.
  • Series B, C, D, and Beyond: Following the Series A round, subsequent funding rounds are labeled as Series B, Series C, Series D, and so on. These rounds represent additional rounds of financing as the startup progresses and requires more capital for further expansion, product development, market penetration, and scaling operations. The size of these rounds tends to increase as the startup matures and attracts larger investments from venture capital firms, private equity firms, or institutional investors.

It’s important to note that the specific distinctions and terminology used for funding rounds may vary in different regions or industries. Additionally, the criteria for each funding stage can depend on factors such as the startup’s industry, growth trajectory, and the preferences of investors. Understanding the different funding stages helps startups align their fundraising efforts with the appropriate stage and attract the right investors for their growth needs.

Angel investors

Angels, the unsung heroes of the startup world, are typically affluent individuals who make smaller investments in budding ventures. These passionate investors often possess a personal connection to the company or its founders, fueling their belief in the project’s potential. While their investment approach tends to be more hands-off, angels offer invaluable industry knowledge and can serve as mentors to game startups.

Interestingly, some notable angel investors have made their mark in the game industry:

  • Greg Richardson: As the managing partner at Juno Capital and former CEO of Bioware, Richardson brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. His involvement as an angel investor bolsters his commitment to fostering innovation in the gaming realm.
  • Chamath Palihapitiya: Known for his early investments in social gaming, Palihapitiya was an angel investor for Playdom, a company that experienced significant success in the social gaming space. His entrepreneurial insights and strategic guidance have helped shape the landscape of the game industry.
  • Andrew Goldman: Not only is Goldman the founder and CEO of Writable Inc., but he also served as the studio head and former CEO at Pandemic Studios. With his deep understanding of game development and business operations, Goldman provides valuable mentorship and support to startups in the gaming sector.
  • Shervin Pishevar: As the Chairman and founder of SGN, a leading mobile game developer, Pishevar’s expertise in the gaming industry is unparalleled. His role as an angel investor demonstrates his commitment to nurturing the growth of promising game startups.
  • Ray Muzyka: Muzyka, the Founder and CEO at ThresholdImpact, has a strong background in the game industry. As a successful entrepreneur, he offers strategic guidance and mentorship to startups, empowering them to navigate the challenges and seize opportunities in the gaming market.

These renowned angel investors not only contribute capital but also leverage their industry knowledge and networks to empower game startups. Their involvement exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between experienced individuals and innovative entrepreneurs, fostering growth, and propelling the game industry to new heights.

VC funds

In this part of article I want to demonstrate the list VCs that can help budget startups in no particular order, but the ones I noticed more than others while exploring the topic: 

  1. BITKRAFT Ventures
    Year Founded: 2015 
    Size: 11-50 

BITKRAFT Ventures, an American gaming VC established in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, specializes in providing early-stage and seed investments for businesses and startups in the gaming, Esports, and interactive media sectors. With a global presence through its offices, the firm has managed three investment funds, facilitating a total of 67 investments. They have exited from two of their investments thus far.

  1. Galaxy Interactive
    Year Founded: 2018
    Size: 1-10 

Galaxy Interactive, a gaming VC firm established in 2018 and headquartered in New York, USA, focuses on investing in technology companies and those dedicated to interactive media across different stages of funding. Over the past three years, the firm has managed a single investment fund, enabling them to make 65 investments in startups. However, they have only exited from one of their investments thus far.

  1. Tencent
    Year Founded: 1998
    Size: 10,000+ 

Tencent, a prominent Chinese company, plays a significant role in providing VC funding for the gaming industry across various funding stages. Founded in 1998 and based in Shenzhen, Tencent has made 621 investments in a range of companies, with a considerable focus on gaming. Notable examples include Call of Duty Mobile and Call of Duty Online. They have successfully exited from 113 of these investments.

  1. Makers Fund 
    Year Founded: 2017
    Size: 1-10  

Makers Fund, an American VC firm founded in 2017 and based in San Francisco, directs its efforts towards early-stage startups, particularly those in the interactive entertainment sector, including gaming. With a sole investment fund at their disposal, the firm has made 57 investments since its inception. As of now, they have successfully exited from six of their investments.

  1. London Venture Partners
    Year Founded: 2010
    Size: 1-10

London Venture Partners, an English VC firm founded in 2010 and based in London, focuses exclusively on providing investment for the gaming sector and ecosystem. They offer seed funding and early-stage investments to help startups bring their ideas to fruition. Over the past decade, the company has managed three investment funds, enabling them to make 71 investments. As of now, they have successfully exited from twelve of their investments.

  1. Remagine Ventures
    Year Founded: 2017
    Size: 1-10 

Remagine Ventures is an Israeli VC firm founded in 2017, based in Tel Aviv. The company invests in various tech companies, including those in the digital entertainment sector. Remagine Ventures primarily focuses on early-stage funding for startups.

Since its establishment four years ago, Remagine Ventures has managed two investment funds, allowing the company to make nine investments during this time. As of now, the company has not exited from any of its investments.

  1. 1Up Ventures 
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

1Up Ventures is an American gaming VC firm founded in 2019 and based in Kirkland, USA. With a team boasting extensive experience in the gaming industry, 1Up Ventures provides investment support, technical assistance, and industry knowledge to help gaming businesses reach the next level.

Since its inception in 2019, 1Up Ventures has made 20 investments in these types of companies.

  1. LEGO Ventures
    Year Founded: 2018
    Size: 11-50

LEGO Ventures is a Dutch VC firm founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of the renowned LEGO company. With a focus on creativity, learning, and gaming, LEGO Ventures invests in businesses that embrace digital play to facilitate children’s learning and development.

Since its establishment three years ago, LEGO Ventures has made 11 investments in the sector. Currently, the company has successfully exited from two of these investments.

  1. Creandum Year
    Founded: 2003
    Size: 11-50

Creandum, a Swedish VC firm founded in 2003 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, specializes in investing in technology companies, including both enterprise and consumer software. The firm also extends its investments to the gaming industry.

Since its establishment, Creandum has made a substantial number of investments, totaling 183. As of now, the company has successfully exited from 33 of its investments.

  1. Velo Partners
    Year Founded: 2013
    Size: 1-10

Velo Partners is an English VC firm founded in 2013 and headquartered in London. Specializing in seed and Series A funding, Velo Partners primarily invests in gaming and gambling businesses, both within the UK and globally.

Over the past eight years, Velo Partners has made a total of 31 investments in growing companies. Additionally, the company has been involved in acquisitions, having acquired another business. During this time, Velo Partners has successfully exited from three of its investments.

  1. Benchmark
    Year Founded: 1995
    Size: 11-50

Benchmark, an American VC firm founded in 1995 and based in San Francisco, California, invests in a diverse range of technology companies, including those operating in the gaming industry.

Since its inception, Benchmark has managed six investment funds, allowing the company to make a total of 629 investments in growing businesses. Out of these investments, the company has successfully exited from 170.

  1. VGames
    Year Founded: 2020
    Size: 1-10

VGames is an Israeli VC firm founded in 2020 and headquartered in Tel Aviv. The company is solely dedicated to supporting the development of gaming companies, providing early-stage funding and additional soft support to these businesses.

Since its establishment last year, VGames has managed a single investment fund. With this fund, the company has made six investments in gaming companies. Currently, VGames has not exited from any of its investments.

  1. Griffin Gaming Partners
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

Griffin Gaming Partners is a VC firm founded in 2019 and based in Los Angeles, Mexico. The company focuses its investment efforts on the gaming industry and ecosystem as a whole. Griffin Gaming Partners provides funding across various stages of business development to help foster growth.

Since its establishment two years ago, Griffin Gaming Partners has operated with a single investment fund. Through this fund, the company has made 15 investments. Currently, Griffin Gaming Partners has exited from only one of these investments.

  1. Konvoy Ventures
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

Konvoy Ventures is an American gaming venture capital firm founded in 2019 and based in Denver, Colorado. It focuses on making investments in the gaming and esports industries, primarily during the early stages of a business’s life cycle.

Since its establishment two years ago, Konvoy Ventures has operated with a single investment fund. Through this fund, the company has made 23 investments in gaming companies. Moreover, Konvoy Ventures has successfully exited from two of these investments.

  1. WestSummit Capital
    Year Founded: 2009
    Size: 11-50

WestSummit Capital, an American VC firm founded in 2009 and headquartered in Menlo Park, California, focuses on investing in technology companies in North America and China. The firm has also made notable investments in the gaming industry.

Over the past twelve years, WestSummit Capital has managed three investment funds, enabling the company to make 35 investments in such businesses. They have successfully exited from 13 of their investments.

  1. Transcend Fund
    Year Founded: 2020
    Size: 1-10

Transcend Fund is an American gaming VC founded in 2020, based in San Francisco, California. The company focuses its investments on gaming companies and those involved in interactive entertainment. They provide early-stage funding to help these businesses reach the next level.

Since its establishment, Transcend Fund has made a total of twenty-one investments in startups. As of now, the company has not exited from any of these investments.

  1. Lumikai
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

Lumikai is an Indian gaming VC firm founded in 2019 and based in New Delhi. It proudly claims to be the first gaming and interactive media VC in India. Lumikai specializes in early-stage investments in gaming businesses and has already achieved some notable successes.

Since its establishment two years ago, Lumikai has managed a single investment fund. With the help of this fund, the company has made five investments in the sector. Additionally, Lumikai has successfully exited from one of these investments.

  1. MGVC
    Year Founded: 2020
    Size: 1-10

MGVC is a Russian Gaming VC firm established in 2020 and based in Moscow. The company was created with the goal of supporting the development and growth of new gaming companies within Russia. With a team possessing extensive experience in the gaming industry, MGVC provides valuable assistance to the companies they invest in.

Since its inception last year, MGVC has managed an investment fund, allowing them to make a total of nine investments. Currently, the company has not exited from any of these investments.

  1. Hiro Capital
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

Hiro Capital is a gaming VC firm based in Luxembourg. Founded in 2019, the company concentrates its investment efforts on esports, gaming, and digital sports. Hiro Capital typically provides funding during the Series A and Series B stages of investment and has a presence across Europe.

Since its establishment two years ago, Hiro Capital has managed a single investment fund. Through this fund, the company has made 19 investments in gaming companies. Notably, Hiro Capital has successfully exited from one of these investments.

  1. Gamerforce Ventures
    Year Founded: 2019
    Size: 1-10

Gamerforce Ventures is a Singaporean gaming VC firm founded in 2019 and based in Singapore. The company specializes in providing investment and technical support for the esports and gaming industries. Typically, their investment focus lies between the seed funding and Series A funding stages.

Since its inception two years ago, Gamerforce Ventures has managed two investment funds and made three investments in the sector. As of now, the company has not made an exit from any of its investments.

Is there another way to fund your startup?

Is there another way to fund your startup

Getting funding for the startup isn’t an easy job. There are many ways you can make mistakes while searching for the budget. That’s why, in the next article series I want to explore the topic of how to effectively find investors, what to show and say to them to catch their attention, and all the other things you need to know to find funding. Stay tuned!

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