SA mobile gaming startup Carry1st raises $20m Series A extension round for expansion.


Carry1st, a South African mobile gaming startup, has raised a $20 million Series A extension round from Andreessen Horowitz, Avenir, and Google to help it expand across Africa.

Carry1st raised $6 million in Series A funding in May of last year, and it has now announced a $20 million extension, led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). a16z, founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests at all stages and manages US$28.2 billion in assets across numerous funds. Carry1st is the company’s first venture into Africa.

Avenir and Google, as well as a number of significant angel investors, including Grammy winner and famed crypto investor Nas, as well as the founders of Chipper Cash, Sky Mavis, and Yield Guild Games, participated in the round. Riot GamesKonvoy VenturesRaine Ventures, and TTV Capital are among the investors who backed Carry1st in its May 2021 Series A round.

Carry1st will use the additional funds to expand its content offering, build its product, engineering, and growth teams, and recruit tens of millions of new users, thanks to a 96 percent monthly revenue growth. It’s also branching out into game co-development, collaborating on creative concepts with leading game studios, and building 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.”

Andreessen Horowitz general partner David Haber said he was delighted to be making the firm’s first investment in an Africa-headquartered company in Carry1st.

“We see immense opportunity for the company to mirror outstanding successes we’ve seen in markets like India, China, and Southeast Asia. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with founders Cordel, Lucy, Tino, and the Carry1st team on their mission to build the Garena of Africa,” he said.

Carry1st is a mobile games publisher based in Cape Town that serves the first generation of African smartphone users. With games like Mine Rescue and SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off, Carry1st has reached millions of users across the continent. To effectively monetize content, the company has also established a proprietary payments and online marketplace.