After raising $50 million in early 2021 for a new gaming-focused venture capital fund, The Games Fund has invested in a total of 4 early-stage game studios headquartered in Eastern Europe.
Ilya Eremeev, Co-Founder of The Games Fund, commented:
“The Moscow and Los Angeles-based fund is moving fast in a market full of gaming venture capitalists, but the firm believes it has an advantage with a wealth of studios in Eastern Europe.”
Fund activities and actively developing regions have been explored since April. The firm’s goal is to be a bridge between international companies and local developers and help them integrate into the global gaming ecosystem. Eremeev added the following on the subject:
“It illustrates our strategy of investing in early-stage companies, free-to-play mobile game developers, young developers, all based in Eastern Europe. They’re all different as some work in the casual field while others work on the opposite side of the spectrum in mid-core and hardcore games.”
Six more investments are waiting to be announced before the end of 2021. Aside from the more than 5,000 gaming companies operating in Eastern Europe, the fund has plenty to choose from. The team has studied nearly 300 sites so far, but even though trends like NFTs and blockchain are interesting, they are not the primary focus of funding. Let’s take a closer look at the 4 companies that have been announced to receive investments.
Belarus-based Vandrouka Games, co-founded by Vadim Komkov and Vladimir Komkov, has raised $1 million in startup funding.
Veterans of the industry, Vadim Komkov and Vladimir Komkov, who have more than 10 years of casual game development experience, previously worked as senior executives in one of the leading game companies in Eastern Europe. When they decided to make casual games on their own, their goal was to focus on innovative gameplay, interesting meta, and quality visuals.
Purple Games, founded by Denis Zhuravlev and featuring match-3 experts, has raised $1 million, approximately $450,000 from The Games Fund. Purple Games has a team of 25 people and is headquartered in Minsk.
Eremeev says their first game, Greenvale, has shown impressive results at soft launch and will soon be ready to scale.
Jarvi Games, founded by Ihor Lysenko, Serhii Hrynenko, Dmytro Burnos, and Oleksandr Lysenkoarvi, raised $510,000 in a preliminary seed round. The 10-member team has goals to exit the Eastern European gaming market with Vice Online, a mobile action sandbox multiplayer game similar to Grand Theft Auto Online, but designed for mobile.
In fact, no one has really succeeded yet with such a mobile-first experience. “It’s not an easy concept – the game is in its early stages – but The Games Fund is already having a lot of fun and laughing while testing the game,” Eremeev said. “Open world, multiplayer online with sports cars, helicopters, private jets, boats, and a huge arsenal of firearms. It’s a game where everything explodes!
“They’re trying to recreate that kind of GTA V online experience for mobile,” Eremeev added. “They provide this sandbox experience and focus on a wider audience. You can make all the mayhem you want in the city and customize your items.”
Founded by Sergey Petrov and Boris Kalmykov and consisting of a team of 25 experienced core developers, Hypemasters raised a total of $1 million with $450,000 from The Games Fund.
Hypermasters focuses more on building player versus player, real-time strategy games on mobile devices. The first game, World War Commander, takes place in the Second World War. Moreover, World War Commander is currently in beta in Russia and is showing solid results.
Eremeev said, “There are not many competitors in this area because RTS is perceived to be not that attractive to foreign players. But we believe that is not true. There is a space for RTS and serious hardcore games.”
Eremeev said that PC games in this genre have a strong community and he believes there is a lot of potentials to adapt popular PC genres to mobile. The trick, he said, is not copying or porting the game from PC to mobile devices, but reworking and redesigning the game while preserving and amplifying the essence of the genre and player experience.