My partners and I have been investing in the game sector for several years now and the key issue for game developers is always discovery. We meet talented teams making great games but they do not know how to get their games discovered by users. Some teams realise this, but many do not (or will not) believe that it's a big issue and that they'll muddle through somehow.
In parallel, the top grossing charts for mobile on the various App Stores essentially have been frozen for over 2 years now, with relatively little movement in the top 100 grossing. And on PC & online, although more disparate and diverse, the same lack of volatility can be seen. Many people think there is some sort of secret sauce that the most successful game developers have to find new users. Here is one of the secrets: cash, and lots of it! The top game developers are extremely profitable and they use their profits as a weapon to keep others away from their chart ranking in the top grossing.
The LVP team thought there has to be a better way for new game developers to find new users, but we had not met the right team with the right strategy. Then we met the Shark Punch team. Shark Punch developed and launched a game, the Masterplan, and along the way had figured out that game discovery was not working, so they set out to make it better. Their product, Playfield, addresses the issue of discovery by combining data mining with artificial intelligence, and adds-in some video game community passion.
Playfield is a platform for players both to discover games and connect with other players and game developers, thereby becoming the crowd-curated repository for upcoming and newly launched games.
Shark Punch was founded in 2014 by a team that had worked together and experienced success before at Rocket Pack which was acquired by Disney in 2011. The founders were the key reason we decided to invest and lead their seed round. They have the humble attitude that we have seen in the team of our other Finnish investments, while also having the strong vision and dedication to winning.
The Shark Punch team has the right formula to disrupt game discovery. We expect that the Playfield platform will revolutionise discovery for both gamers and developers.
An added bonus for this deal was that the team is based in Finland and could apply for Tekes funding which leverages our investment. We are big fans of Tekes and the Finnish tech ecosystem. Every game company in the world should find some other local game companies and politicians and get on a plane to Finland to learn whats happening there. It’s a special place. Better yet go to Slush in November in Helsinki. We think it’s the best tech event in Europe.