Angry Birds outfit Rovio has announced that it has placed USD$3m (£2.3m) into the new Play Ventures fund, which hopes to initially invest in 20-25 video game companies.
Play Ventures was founded last year by video game entrepreneurs Harri Manninen and Henric Suuronen, and plans to grow to offer a USD$30m (£23m) total funding pot. Play Ventures is focused on making early-stage investment in video game companies based across the world.
“Our investment in Play Ventures is according to our M&A and growth strategy and the fund offers a good seedbed for new game ideas and companies”, stated Rovio CFO René Lindell. “We regard Henric’s and Harri’s know-how in the industry as excellent and we believe that our investment in the fund offers Rovio many interesting possibilities.”
Rovio, of course, emerged as an early giant of smartphone gaming. Angry Birds, released way back in 2009, was one of the first modern-era mobile games to captivate a vast and diverse audience that existed far beyond the boundaries of the traditional ‘gamer’ demographic. Since muscled out by giants like Candy Crush Saga as a cultural touchstone for mainstream gaming, Angry Birds has nonetheless spawned several successful sequels, spin-offs, a merchandising empire, TV series, and films. Angry Birds The Movie 2’s coming 2019 releases appears to demonstrate the brand and game series is relevant a decade after launch. Still – the original game was released in what could reasonably be understood as a different era in smartphone gaming. For starters, it was initially premium and ad-free.
While Play Ventures does not aim to be a Rovio endeavour itself, the latter’s head of studio Michail Katkoff stands as venture partner at the fund.
“The goal of Play Ventures is to invest globally in the world’s most promising early stage gaming companies and we pursue excellent returns for our investors,” Play Ventures’ Manninen said. “We appreciate Rovio’s investment not only financially but also as an expression of trust, and we believe that Play Ventures also helps to cultivate the industry and create even better opportunities for early stage gaming companies.”
Thus far, five video game companies have been selected for funding. Interested game companies can find out more at the Play Ventures website.