Carry1st, a South African game publisher, has closed an undisclosed funding deal from Sony Innovation Fund for Africa, per tech publication Benjamindada.com.
According to the report, Carry1st is the first startup to secure funding from Sony’s $10 million Innovation Fund for Africa. The undisclosed investment is expected to bring the best games in the world to players across Africa, per Carry1st CEO and Cofounder, Cordel Robbin-Coker.
Carry1st and Sony Innovation Fund
Founded in 2018, Carry1st is a game studio creating mobile games like Carry1st Trivia. Over the years, the Cape Town-based company started licensing and publishing games from other developers. The startup also developed Pay1st, a platform for monetising their games and those of other publishers.
Per Benjamindada.com, the gaming publisher has raised over $57 million from at least five deals, including a $27 million pre-Series B round last year, since its launch. Also, the gaming company has partnered with the gaming industry heavyweights Call of Duty and Riot Games.
In October 2023, Sony Group Corporation launched Sony Innovation Fund: Africa. Basically, it is a $10 million fund to invest in seed to early-stage startups in Africa’s entertainment industry, including startups in the gaming, music, movie and content distribution sectors.
Now, over three months after the launch, Sony Innovation Fund: Africa has made its inaugural investment of an undisclosed sum in Carry1st.
Reactions from stakeholders
Antonio Avitabile, managing director for EMEA at Sony Ventures Corporation said his team are excited to welcome Carry1st as the first investment in Africa.
In his words:
“We believe there is tremendous untapped potential for the gaming market in Africa, which we hope to experience and contribute to through our investment in Carry1st. We look forward to working closely with Carry1st’s world-class management team to support the company’s growth and explore potential business opportunities with Sony Group companies.”
Cordel Robbin-Coker, Cofounder and CEO of Carry1st said the undisclosed investment sum from Sony will bring the best games in the world to players across Africa.
Also, Robbin-Coker said the relationship with Sony will help his startup to drive the future of gaming in Africa.
“At Carry1st, we believe that the African console market is a massively underestimated opportunity. Our distinct regional capabilities, paired with Sony’s expertise in gaming and entertainment, create a powerful combination.”
Africa’s gaming industry reportedly has over 200 million distinct operators, and its market value is expected to reach $1 billion in 2024, per data research firm Newzoo in 2023
According to Tom Wijman, lead games analyst at Newzoo, the African games market is a story of potential.
“For the last three years, growth in the market has outpaced the global average, and it is set to keep doing so for the coming years. Saying that it’s also a challenging region to find success in. Sub-Saharan Africa houses 7% of the global player audience, but its players spend less than half a per cent of global gaming revenues.” – Tom Wijman, lead games analyst at Newzoo.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!