Africa’s leading mobile games publisher, Carry1st, , has raised $27-million in venture capital.
The funding round was led by Bitkraft Ventures, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), TTV Capital, Alumni Ventures, Lateral Capital, Kepple Ventures, and Konvoy. It comes off the back of a successful partnership with Call of Duty: Mobile in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2022, as well as partnerships to be launched in 2023.
Carry1st has also signed a partnership with Riot Games to pilot local payments for the company’s games in Africa. Riot games is the developer and publisher behind League of Legends, the most-played PC game in the world ,as well as other titles like Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra, and League of Legends: Wild Rift. The company is an early investor in Carry1st.
The financing comes off a successful year for Carry1st, which saw:
- the first game from its CrazyHubs gaming accelerator become the #1 downloaded game in the US (according to data.ai);
- significant revenue growth over the last twelve months;
- it signing a range of partnerships that will fuel the Company’s growth in 2023 and beyond. Carry1st will use the financing to develop, licence, and publish games as well as further expand Pay1st, the company’s monetisation-as-a-service solution.
Carry1st provides a full-stack publishing solution, handling user acquisition, live operations, community management, and monetisation for its content. The Company enhances monetisation in the region through Pay1st, its embedded payments solution and online marketplace for virtual goods, which allows customers across Africa the ability to pay for content in their preferred way.
Jens Hilgers, founding general partner at Bitkraft Ventures, says: “Africa is home to the largest population of young people in the world, and this upcoming generation will grow up digitally native with video games as their primary entertainment preference.”
Africa is the next major growth market for mobile games, driven by rapidly increasing technology adoption. A report released in 2021 from Newzoo and Carry1st, showed the games industry in Sub-Saharan Africa is on track to increase by 728% in 10 years.