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African mobile games publisher Carry1st has raised $20 million in a financing round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from such big names as Nas, Google and Riot Games.
As part of Andreessen Horowitz’s first investment in a company headquartered in Africa, partners David Haber and Jonathan Lai will join the board of Cape Town, South Africa-based Carry1st, whose games include SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off from studio Tilting Point.
Game developer Sky Mavis, play-to-earn gaming guild Yield Guild Games, investment firm Avenir and the founders of Chipper Cash also participated in the capital injection. “In addition, investors from Carry1st’s May 2021 Series A (funding round) are backing the company again, namely Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures and TTV Capital,” according to an announcement.
“On the back of 96 percent monthly 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,” the statement said. “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.”
“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across gaming, fintech, and web3,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, co-founder and CEO of Carry1st. “In 2021, we launched multiple games and digital commerce solutions achieving really strong growth. Together we can accelerate this growth and achieve our goal of becoming the leading consumer internet company in the region.”
A 2021 report from Newzoo and Carry1st predicted that the number of gamers in sub-Saharan Africa would increase by 275 percent over 10 years, leading to a 728 percent increase in revenue. “Carry1st has positioned itself to be the conduit for international and local mobile game companies to profitably serve these consumers,” the company said.
Andreessen Horowitz’s Haber said: “We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company in Carry1st, a next-generation mobile games and fintech platform. We see immense opportunity for the company to mirror outstanding successes we’ve seen in markets like India, China and Southeast Asia.”
Carry1st, founded by Robbin-Coker, COO Lucy Hoffman and chief technology officer Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu, employs a team of 37 people across 18 countries. Its games also include Mine Rescue, Match League and Football Clash.
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