LVP launches seed fund targeting European digital game startups

London Venture Partners said Tuesday that it has launched its first seed fund focused on European digital game startups. No financial terms were disclosed. The pool’s LPs include Nexon, Wargaming and Zynga CEO Don Matrick. According to an LVP source, the fund is planning on making 20 to 25 investments.


LONDON – July 15, 2014 – London Venture Partners (“LVP”) announced today that it has launched their first investment fund with third party investors, LVP Seed Fund I (“Seed Fund”), focusing on digital game startups in Europe building on the LVP team’s success with their private fund investments including Supercell, NaturalMotion and Unity. The Seed Fund, which launched today, is backed by investors including NEXON Co., Ltd. (“Nexon”), Wargaming, and Don Mattrick, CEO of Zynga.

Led by general partners David Gardner, David Lau-Kee, and Paul Heydon, LVP has a deep understanding of the games business, gleaned from over 60 years of combined industry experience in building, running and advising successful companies with a combined equity value of over $17 billion. Capitalizing on the firm’s extensive network and successful track record of early stage investments, LVP will source and invest in promising European digital game startups. The European games market has a rich heritage of game innovation, with over $15 billion in value created since 1997, but has historically been underserved by venture capital. LVP will leverage its unique strategic approach to unlock those compelling market opportunities for the Fund and its investors. The Fund will target initial investments of $50,000 to $500,000.

The LVP partners are seed investors in game companies that have created approximately $4 billion in value over the past five years through full or partial exits, including:
· Supercell: Partial exit of $1.53 billion at a $3 billion valuation via a 51% acquisition by Softbank and Gungho;
· NaturalMotion: $527 million exit via an acquisition by Zynga;
· Playfish: $400 million exit via an acquisition by EA; and
· Applifier: acquisition by Unity Technologies.
Other investments by the LVP team include: Omnidrone, Boomlagoon, PlayJam, Grey Area Labs, Unity Technologies, PlayRaven and Brainbow.

“We are excited by the opportunity to identify compelling early-stage digital game investment propositions in Europe,” said David Gardner, General Partner of LVP. “We believe that the European market represents significant untapped potential where we can apply our domain-specific strategic and operational expertise to help lead young game startups to success, and our LPs will provide great access and insight to our entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe and North America.”

“David Gardner is one of the most respected executives in the European games business, with a well-deserved reputation for providing the most thoughtful help to game designers and entrepreneurs,” said Owen Mahoney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexon. “London Venture Partners cares deeply about game makers and game customers, making them the perfect strategic partner for Nexon.”

“London Venture Partners’ outstanding team has a great track record of identifying promising young companies and helping them to scale successfully, and we are excited to work alongside such a strong group of partners,” said Victor Kislyi, Chief Executive Officer of Wargaming.

“Games are at the forefront of a consumer entertainment revolution as technology evolves and smartphone adoption continues to expand. London Venture Partners has an experienced team focused on investing in Europe’s most innovative gaming and mobile startups that are developing for that growth,” said Don Mattrick, Chief Executive Officer of Zynga.

About London Venture Partners
London Venture Partners is a seed fund with a difference – we’re operating experts in the online, social, mobile and tablet games world, and we only ever invest in those sectors. That means we bring real experience and deep understanding. We speak the same language, share the same references, understand the same challenges – and we believe in the same vision.

About NEXON Co., Ltd.
NEXON Co., Ltd. (“Nexon”) (3659.TO) is a worldwide leader in free-to-play online games. Founded in Korea in 1994, Nexon developed one of the world’s first graphics-based massively multiplayer online games. Nexon also pioneered the concept of microtransactions and the free-to-play business model, setting a new standard in which play is free, and users have the option to purchase in-game items to enhance their experience. Nexon currently services nearly 150 games in more than 100 countries and since its founding, Nexon has generated more than 1.5 billion player registrations. The Company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and its shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

About Wargaming
Wargaming is an award-winning online game developer and publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. Founded as a privately held company in 1998, Wargaming has shipped more than 15 titles. Currently, Wargaming is focused on its team-based MMO war series dedicated to the mid-20th century warfare that will include the armored World of Tanks, the flight combat World of Warplanes, and the naval World of Warships. The three intertwined titles will form a common gaming universe integrated within the portal

About Don Mattrick
Don Mattrick is Chief Executive Officer of Zynga, a social game services company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Before joining Zynga in 2013, Mattrick, spent six years at Microsoft – the last three as President of the Interactive Entertainment Business. During his tenure at Microsoft, Mattrick also oversaw businesses and services focused on consumer products, including PC and mobile interactive entertainment and the groundbreaking Kinect entertainment products. Prior to Microsoft, Mattrick served in several leadership positions at Electronic Arts, most recently as President of Worldwide Studios, in which capacity he oversaw EA’s global studios and research & development. During his 15-year career at Electronic Arts, Mattrick helped develop and scale the company’s leading global game franchises and brands, including Need for Speed, FIFA, Harry Potter and The Sims. Mattrick founded his first company, Distinctive Software, at age 17; it was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1991 and subsequently became EA Canada. Raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Mattrick is married with two children. He has served on several public and private boards, including the advisory board for USC School of Cinematic Arts.