Unknown to many, the video gaming industry has increasingly become very popular and lucrative around the world, with global revenue of $154.6 billion in 2021 and the potential of doubling the figure in 2023.
Asia is topping the chart amongst continents of the world, followed by Europe, North America and Africa.
China has the biggest market in this industry with an estimated 2021 turnover of $49.3 billion followed by the United States with $42.5 billion.
Globally, mobile games make up a vast 70% of overall video game revenue.
Africa has witnessed a significant growth market for mobile games, given the proliferation and adoption of technology among the youths. According to the report, technological growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to soar above 180 million in the next five years.
South Africa-based startup Carry1st is not sleeping over this gold mine but strategically positioning itself in this multi-billion industry.
Launched in 2018, Carry1st is a top publisher of social games and interactive content across Africa having raised funding from angel investors such as Google via its Africa Investment Fund and Avenir Growth Capital.
After the launch in 2018, Carry1st developed and launched mobile games starting with Carry1st Trivia before acquiring games like Mine Rescue and Gebetato, improving and relaunching them at scale. Carry1st also licenses third-party games (e.g Riot Games) whilst having Pay1st as its finance platform that helps in revenue generation.
CarryIst Series Funding
Carry1st last January announced a $20 million Series A extension round followed by the $6 million it raised in May 2021 from several investors, including Riot Games, the developer of the PC game “League of Legends”.
Carry1st sometime last year strengthened its investment with Riot Games by signing a partnership which had Carry1st agreeing to act as Riot’s payments partner in Africa.
Carry1st saw the backing from top-tier investors Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Konvoy Ventures and now Bitkraft Ventures in its recently announced $27 million pre-Series B round. Both a16z and Konvoy participated in this financing round, which included TTV Capital, Alumni Ventures, Lateral Frontiers VC and Kepple Ventures amongst others.
“We now have, in our minds, the three best funds that focus on gaming and web3. And so it just adds even more resources, perspective and assistance to help us achieve our goals,” -chief executive officer Cordel Robbin-Coker
The pre-Series B financing will see Carry1st drive growth in all these areas: develop, license and publish new games, as well as expand Pay1st.
“What we found, particularly in countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco, was that there was a massive appetite for digital content, especially with the ability to pay for it with local payment methods and, more importantly, in local currency, which is unique or unusual because most of the online purchases are denominated in dollars. He stated that Carry1st was the gaming startup’s fastest-growing product last year as users and revenues surged fivefold – said the CEO