Carry1st,a South African startup company, has raised $6 million led by Konvoy Ventures,a video game venture capital firm based in Colorado with participation from Riot Games (maker of League of Legends),Raine Ventures, Tokyo-based AET Fund/Akatsuki (the creators of Dragon Ball Z), and fintech specialist TTV Capital. Konvoy Ventures managing partner Jackson Vaughan is joining the company’s board.
Since 2018, the startup has raised $9.5 million to date .With the funding received, Carry1st will secure new partnerships with global gaming studios, launch and scale its existing portfolio of games and expand its product, engineering and growth teams.
In 2018, Hoffman founded Carry1st with co-founders Cordel Robbin-Coker (who is the CEO) and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu chief technology officer. The South African company publishes mobile app games targeted at the untapped potential of the African gaming market. The startup focuses on delivering interactive apps for millions of people across the continent.
Carry1st launched a game, Carry1st Trivia in 2019 and it became the No.1 title on Android in Kenya and Nigeria with more than 1.5 million downloads. The startup’s team found its expertise was more in marketing games by finding alternative ways for people to discover them. The team studied how influencer marketing worked and learned how important it was to have local payment solutions. In Africa, many smartphone owners don’t have credit cards that Google Play and Apple’s App Store accept.
In early 2020, the startup raised a seed round, and has currently built a payments platform that will allow users to pay using local payment methods. The platform is similar to the tactics that Krafton and Garena use in south-east Asia.
Carry1st has 26 employees from 11 countries. About a third of the team is in Cape Town, South Africa and another half dozen are in Nigeria. The rest are spread out throughout the world.
The startup’s team includes veterans hailing from Carlyle, King, Jumia, Rovio, Socialpoint, Ubisodt and Wargaming.In 2020, Carry1st was inducted into the MasterCard Start Path program for the top 10 promising fintech business globally.
Jackson Vaughan, the managing partner at Konvoy Ventures, said in a statement that Carry1st is solving for distribution with its payment infrastructure and it is approaching sub-regions with contextual understanding. Brendan Mulligan, the head of corporate development at Riot Games, said in a statement that the number of gamers in Africa is exploding and Carry1st will introduce games to a passionate and important audience.