Game on: The 4 most active gaming VCs in the Nordics

Gaming has long been one of the Nordics most successful verticals, with the region home to some of the world’s biggest hits. Yet, despite this, gaming as an investable opportunity is still seen by many VCs as too risky to enter, even when the track record and talent is as strong as it is in the Nordics. However, with gaming still one of the regions most funded verticals, we took a look at the VCs who are putting capital into the sector and betting on discovering the next big hit.


1. Sunstone (9 investments)

Investments:

Seriously ($2.65 million), Seriously ($5 million), Seriously ($18 million), Game Analytics ($5.5 million), Traplight Games ($500,000), Traplight Games ($1.38 million) Everywear Games (undisclosed), Ministry of Games ($2 million), Futureplay Games ($430,000)

Where:

Finland 88.9%, Denmark 11.1%

Median round size:

$2.35 million

Range of rounds:

$430,000 – $18 million

Top 3 investments:

1. Seriously ($18 million)

2. Game Analytics ($5.5 million)

3. Seriously ($5 million)


2. Creandum (4 investments)

Investments:

Playraven ($2.3 million), Small Giant Games ($3.1 million), Resolution Games ($6 million) and Futureplay Games ($430,000)

Where:

Finland 75%, Sweden 25%

Median round size:

$2.7 million

Range of rounds:

$430,000 – $6 million

Top 3 investments:

1. Resolution Games ($6 million)

2. Small Giant Games ($3.1 million)

3. Playraven ($2.3 million)


= London Venture Partners (4 investments)

Investments:

Playfield ($1.3 million), Klang Games ($630,000), Playraven ($2.3 million) and Boomlagoon ($3.6 million)

Where:

Finland 75%, Iceland 25%

Median round size:

$1.8 million

Range of rounds:

$630,000 – $3.6 million

Top 3 investments:

1. Boomlagoon ($3.6 million)

2. Playraven ($2.3 million)

3. Playfield ($1.3 million)


= Initial Capital (4 investments)

Investments: 

Ministry of Games ($2 million), Resolution Games ($6 million), Traplight Games ($1.38 million) and Armada Interactive ($3 million)

Where:

Finland 75%, Sweden 25%

Median round size:

$2.5 million

Range of rounds: 

$1.38 million – $6 million

Top 3 investments:

1. Resolution Games ($6 million)

2. Armada Interactive ($3 million)

3. Ministry of Games ($2 million)


Key observations

  • It’s a little surprising that despite the obvious risks attached to investing in gaming companies, that only four VC firms have made at least four investments in Nordic gaming startups over the last couple of years. It should be noted however that there are a number of VCs that have made moe than one gaming investment over this time period, including: Northzone, Inventure, Reaktor, IDG, Lowercase, Index, PRO Founders, Bonnier, Upfront and Finnvera.
  • It’s clear that Sunstone are far and away the most active investor in gaming startups in the Nordics and are more than capable of making strong follow on investments as well.
  • Finnish gaming startups are the main focus of the most active gaming investors attention, with over 3 in 4 gaming investments made by Sunstone, Creandum, Initial Capital and London Venture Partners made there.
  • Despite this, none of the 4 most active VC firms are actually based there.
  • London Venture Partners and Initial Capital are both headquartered outside of the Nordics.
  • All four seem to be competing at a similar stage, with all median investments sizes around the same mark, although London Venture Partners’ median is slightly smaller than the others at $1.8 million.
  • At least one of these 4 VCs were involved in 51% of the gaming investments in the Nordics in the last two years.

Methodology and Disclaimers

  • All data presented is from our own proprietary dataset
  • The time period analysed is January 1st 2014- April 20th 2016
  • Only investments into Nordic gaming startups were included
  • Only publicly announced investments were included
  • Follow-on rounds were included
  • Where investors made the same number of investments, they were given the same position

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— Nathan Benaich, Playfair Capital

Neil S W Murray founded The Nordic Web in 2014 in order to provide the Nordics with the quality coverage it deserves. As well as being Founding Editor of The Nordic Web, Neil is also an active community builder in the region, participating in a number of initiatives, and has previously worked for Tech.eu.