Carry1st the mobile games publishing platform that enables global gaming studios to unlock the untapped African market, has raised $6M in Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $9.5M since inception in 2018.
The round was led by Colorado-based video game VC firm Konvoy Ventures, with participation from global industry titan Riot Games (developers of League of Legends), Raine Ventures, Tokyo-based AET Fund / Akatsuki (creators of Dragon Ball Z), and fintech specialist TTV Capital. Konvoy Ventures Managing Partner Jackson Vaughan is joining the company’s board.
Carry1st will use the funding to secure new partnerships with global gaming studios, launch and scale its existing portfolio of games, and expand its product, engineering, and growth teams.
Driven by rapidly increasing technology adoption, particularly among the continent’s 1.1 billion Millennials and Gen Zs, Africa is the fastest growing region for mobile game downloads, according to App Annie. Despite this potential, international and regional studios often find it difficult to profitably serve African consumers due to fragmented and unresolved distribution and digital payments ecosystems.
Carry1st provides a full stack publishing solution, handling distribution, localization, user acquisition, marketing, customer experience, and monetization for its partners. Carry1st’s Pay1st platform is an embedded fintech solution which consolidates the most well-adopted payment methods in six African countries, allowing customers to pay in their preferred way.
The company’s diverse founders and 24-strong team – spread across 11 countries – combines years of gaming industry experience with unrivalled regional understanding. The team includes veterans hailing from Carlyle, King, Jumia, Rovio, Socialpoint, Ubisoft, and Wargaming. In 2020, the company was inducted into the prestigious Mastercard Start Path program for the top ten promising fintech businesses globally.
“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across game development, publishing, and fintech,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, Co-Founder and CEO of Carry1st. “In 2020, we were able successfully sign 7 great titles, recruit a top notch international team, and build out our payments and digital commerce platform. With this investment, we’re positioned to delight millions of users across Africa and the globe.”
Founded by Cordel Robbin-Coker, Lucy Hoffman, and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu, Carry1st has signed publishing deals for seven games from a number of leading studios, including Sweden’s Raketspel which has over 120 million downloads across its portfolio. Other partners include New York-based Cosi Games, and Ethiopan developer Qene Games.
“Carry1st is helping to bring mobile gaming to Africa by solving for distribution with their payment infrastructure and approaching sub-regions with contextual understanding. Cordel, Lucy, and Tino are incredible founders with strong experience on the continent. We’re excited to lead their Series A and support them as they continue to bring joy to their users across the continent,” said Jackson Vaughan, Konvoy Venture Managing Partner.
Brendan Mulligan, Head of Corporate Development at Riot Games added: “At Riot we have seen first hand the importance of partnering with local experts to bring the best possible gaming experience to players. As the number of gamers in Africa explodes, we’re excited to work with Cordel and Carry1st as they introduce game developers from all over the world to an important and passionate audience.”
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