MTG Announces USD 11 million in Investments in Gaming & Esports Startups in 1H 2019

July 17 2019

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 — Modern Times Group MTG AB, the Swedish operational investment company focusing on the most promising esports and gaming entertainment opportunities worldwide, today announced its latest VC Fund investments ahead of the company’s Q2 2019 financial report.

  • Investments in 1H 2019 amount to a total of USD 11 million including capital commitments and span start-up and growth companies in the United States and Germany.
  • MTG has to date made 20 investments in 16 companies totalling USD 21 million thus far from its VC fund to complement its majority stake investments in companies like ESL and DreamHack in esports and Kongregate and InnoGames in gaming.
  • MTG has its HQ in Stockholm, Sweden, and operates through itself and through its portfolio companies in 30+ countries worldwide.

Among the investments are Redwood City-based Dorian, Austin based game developer Tonk Tonk Games, gamer rewards platform Playfull from Los Angeles, German game studio Sviper founded by Ex-InnoGamers and San Diego-based GoMeta, totalling USD 11 million in 1H 2019.

MTG owns 100 percent of Swedish DreamHack and over 82 percent of German founded ESL, the two largest brands in esports worldwide. Its largest VC investments in terms of estimated value are BITKRAFT fund LP positions, AppOnboard, Phoenix Labs, the Play Ventures fund LP position and Sviper. It also owns majority positions in San Francisco-based game studio and publisher Kongregate and German game developer and publisher InnoGames, famous for its hit game Forge of Empires launched 2012 that recently surpassed EUR 500 million in lifetime revenue.

“Gaming and esport is the future of entertainment, and we are excited to invest in what we believe are seven of the most promising early stage startups with excellent teams, products and ideas”, says Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, President and CEO of MTG.

MTG AB complements its majority stake investments with seed and series A round investments in early stage start-ups in gaming and esports through the MTG VC Fund. The ambition is to make 8-10 deals per year: 60 percent in gaming, 30 percent in esports and 10 percent in AR/VR through lead or co-invests with other top VC’s. Since the launch of MTG’s VC Fund in November 2017, the fund has made 20 investments in 16 companies.

“We are already seeing attractive valuation upticks based on latest financing rounds in our investments, such as Phoenix Labs, AppOnboard and the BITKRAFT seed fund. Deal flow and value creation opportunities continue to improve now that we have established MTG as a leading games & esports VC in the West”, says Arnd Benninghoff, EVP esports and games at MTG.

Phoenix Labs recently released its first game in Epic store, AppOnboard recently acquired a no code game creation platform and the BITKRAFT seed fund recently realized an attractive exit of portfolio company The Esports Observer.

In 2018 there were about 2.4 billion video game players in the world, but industry analysts expect that number to grow to 2.9 billion as early as 2022 (Source: Newzoo) – and the global esports audience reached 395 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to 645 million by 2022 (Source: AT Kearney).

New investments 1H 2019

BITKRAFT Esports Ventures – the world’s largest dedicated esports VC fund
https://www.bitkraft.net

Europe / USA, fund investment

BITKRAFT is the first and most active esports investment fund in the world. MTG invested in BITKRAFT’s second fund, following an investment in 2017 into BITKRAFT’s initial seed fund. BITKRAFT focuses investments in early and growth stage esport companies – primarily in North America and Western Europe.

GoMeta – maker of interactive software creation platforms requiring low or no coding capabilities
https://studio.gometa.io/landing

San Diego, USA, seed investment

GoMeta makes interactive software creation platforms that enable users to create a wide range of apps & content experiences spanning games, quizzes, AR, VR, learning and interactive software – with little or no coding required. The company has raised USD 6 million from prominent investors such as BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Zynga founder Marcus Pincus and Josh Elman of Greylock.

Dorian – focusing on the underserved female audience in gaming
https://dorian.live/

San Francisco, USA, seed investment

A gaming startup founded by a veteran team with experience from companies like Pixelberry, Telltale, G5 Games and Nexon. Dorian addresses the underserved and untapped market of female progression games already successful in Asia like “Hello Nikki”, focusing on narrative storytelling games built around the pillars of interactivity, social integration, non-linearity and user-generated content targeting millennial/GenZ female players.

Tonk Tonk Games – an esports & social first game studio
https://www.tonktonk.com/

Austin, USA, seed investment

Mobile games company lead by veterans with decades of collective experience from Blue SKy, Wizards of the Coast, EA, Disney and Pixar. Planning their first release in 2019 with an esports & social first approach leveraging proprietary facial animation technology. MTG invested in Tonk Tonk alongside BITKRAFT Esports Ventures.

Sviperdeveloper of realtime competitive PvP strategy game with CCG elements  
https://sviper.com/

Germany, seed investment

Sviper is an independent mobile gaming studio, founded in 2016 by three industry veterans with mobile and free to play experience from Germany’s biggest gaming companies. Their latest release, Super Spell Heroes, a real-time 1v1 puzzle duel game, is a great success that attracts the attention of the international gaming scene.

Follow on investments 1H 2019

Playfull
https://beplayfull.com/

Los Angeles, USA, seed investment

Under the slogan “Play games, win food” Playfull – a software-based rewards platform – allows restaurants and eventually retailers to offer gamers real geo-targeted rewards and products when they play games they love. Other investors include Boston Seed Capital and other prominent angel investors.

Nomadic – Location based VR pioneers from the SF Bay Area
https://blurtheline.com/

San Francisco, CA, USA, series A

US-founded next generation location-based VR leader, focusing on tactile, walkable VR adventure games. Location based VR is a growing segment in VR games worldwide, and Nomadic is an industry pioneer.  Other investors include Horizons (Hong Kong) and Vulcan Ventures.

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