African gaming platforms are reporting increased investment activity, signaling investor confidence in Africa’s growing reputation as a market for the gaming industry.
South African gaming startup, Carry1st recently raised $27 million in a pre-Series B round, the single largest fund raise for any African gaming startup and Carry1st’s most significant since its founding in 2018.
“Carry1st will use the financing to develop, license, and publish new games as well as further expand Pay1st, the company’s monetization-as-a-service solution,” the company said in a statement.
The mobile games publisher raised Series A rounds of $20 million in January 2022 and $6 million in May 2021.
Carry1st and ‘The President’
The funding round comes off the back of a successful 2022, which saw its game, ‘The President’—developed in partnership with CrazyHubs gaming accelerator—become one of the most downloaded games in the US. The game is loosely based on a fictionalized Donald Trump.
“2022 was a year of significant growth but together with our partners we look forward to making 2023 even better,” said the CEO, Cordel Robbin-Coker.
Its latest fundraising is backed by gaming venture heavyweights like BITKRAFT, a global investment platform for gaming, Web3, and immersive technology, and Andreessen Horowitz, an American venture capital firm specializing in funding stages.
“This upcoming generation will grow up digitally native with video games as their primary entertainment preference,” Jens Hilgers, BITKRAFT Ventures founding general partner, said.
Between 2015 and 2021, the number of mobile gamers in Africa more than doubled from 77 million to 186 million people, according to a 2021 study commissioned by Newzoo and Carry1st, covering sub-Saharan Africa. 95% of gamers were found to play games on smartphones.
GBarena and Galachtech
In January, Egyptian e-sports platform, GBarena entered an agreement to acquire Tunisia-based Galactech in a share swap deal valued at $15 million.
The deal helps GBarena expand into the burgeoning North Africa market as it anticipates closing a Series A funding later in the year, with foreign investors from the US, Singapore and the MENA region, the company said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to announce that with this transaction GBarena is joining forces with Galactech, creating a regional powerhouse in the thriving gaming industry,” said GBarena’s chairman, Ahmed Abou Doma.
PAGG, Skrmiish, and Metaverse Magna
In 2022, the industry also recorded some investments—albeit smaller in value and in some cases not disclosed—as more than 10 gaming studios teamed up to form a pan-African gaming group (PAGG) to tap into growth opportunities, including investor funds.
South African startup, Skrmiish, a mobile “play-to-earn” app, raised $2.5 million in seed funding …….