Andreessen Horowitz, founded by web pioneers Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, with participation from Avenir and Google. The round represents Andreessen Horowitz’s first investment in an Africa-headquartered company, and partners David Haber (fintech) and Jonathan Lai (gaming) will be joining Carry1st’s board as observers.
A number of prominent angel investors participated in the round, including Grammy winner and renowned crypto investor Nas, and founders of Chipper Cash, Sky Mavis, and Yield Guild Games. In addition, investors from Carry1st’s May 2021 funding are returning as investors. Those include Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures, and TTV Capital.
Africa has around 1.1 billion members of the Millennial and Generation Z groups, who are big technology adopters. It’s the fastest-growing region for mobile game downloads, according to mobile insights firm App Annie. And so it’s about time the game venture capital boom came to Africa.
A report released in 2021 from Newzoo and Carry1st, showed that the number of gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to increase by 275% over 10 years, leading to a 728% increase in revenue. Carry1st has positioned itself to be the conduit for international and local mobile game companies to profitably serve these consumers.
Robbin-Coker said he has been gratified by the growth in the Africa games ecosystem, especially in free-to-play games. That’s why more venture capitalists and strategic investors are visiting. Once you invest heavily in the Middle East, he said, the last frontier is Africa. And Africa has already seen an explosion in its fintech space, Robbin-Coker said.
International and regional studios often find it difficult make money in Africa because of fragmented and unresolved distribution and digital payments ecosystems. I’ve followed Carry1st closely as I’ve always wondered how Africa can eventually follow in the footsteps of big regions such as China and India when it comes to the adoption and monetization of mobile games.
On the back of 96% month revenue growth, Carry1st will use the additional capital to expand its content portfolio; grow its product, engineering, and growth teams; and acquire tens of millions of new users. Notably, Carry1st is expanding into game co-development, working with leading game studios on original concepts, and developing the infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming.
“The No. 1 thing we want to do with the funding is to expand our content portfolio,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We have seven games licensed right now. We’re looking to be really aggressive about sourcing additional globally successful titles on the free-to-play side.”