Carry1st, an African mobile gaming publisher, has announced a $20 million Series A extension round led by respected Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz, its first into an African-headquartered company.
With participation from Avenir and Google, other prominent angel investors in this round included Grammy winner and crypto investor Nas, and founders of Chipper Cash, Sky Mavis, and Yield Guild Games.
The investors from its Series A $6 million May 2021 have joined the extension round again, namely Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures, and TTV Capital.
“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, Carry1st’s CEO and co-founder.
“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.”
Since launching its game publishing platform last May, Carry1st has grown by over 90% month-over-month, Robbin-Coker told me. “Our team nearly doubled in 2021 in order to support and build on the growth. This funding from some of the world’s most renowned investors will allow us to take the next step forward.”
“We have an incredible market opportunity; coupled with a clear strategy and the resources to realise this potential. In short, we have a chance, which is very exciting,” he added.
Carry1st partners with mobile games studios and content owners around the world to enable them to “launch their content profitably in the region. We’ve developed a payments platform which allows users to purchase using their preferred method of payment, and a marketplace for digital products”.
Having recently partnered with online payments provider PayPal and Chipper Cash, its users can now also pay for digital services like Tinder subscriptions, mobile data, and gaming currency.
Robbin-Coker believes connecting international content owners with “a large, engaged, aspirational user base” is a way to help solve Africa’s notorious connectivity problems.
“Due to app distribution and digital payment problems in the region, it’s extremely difficult for studios to make money off their games – and for consumers to pay for the content they want,” he told me.
“As a result, consumers across Africa are underserved. We work with international publishers to access the world’s fastest-growing market. Our publishing solution, which handles user acquisition, live operations, community management, and monetization for our partners, is the solution to this.”
Andreessen Horowitz general partner David Haber said the firm was “delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company” in the 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. 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.”