Carry1st, Africa’s leading mobile games publisher, has announced a $20M Series A extension led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Avenir and Google. The round represents Andreessen Horowitz’s first investment in an Africa-headquartered company, and Partners David Haber (fintech) and Jonathan Lai (gaming) will be joining Carry1st’s board as observers.
A number of prominent angel investors participated in the round, including Grammy winner and renowned crypto investor Nas, and founders of Chipper Cash, Sky Mavis, and Yield Guild Games. In addition, investors from Carry1st’s May 2021 Series A are backing the company again, namely Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures, and TTV Capital.
On the back of 96% month revenue growth, Carry1st will use the additional capital to expand its content portfolio; grow its product, engineering, and growth teams; and acquire tens of millions of new users. Notably, Carry1st is expanding into game co-development, working with leading game studios on original concepts, and developing the infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming.
“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, Co-Founder and CEO of Carry1st. “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.”
Africa is the next major growth market, driven by rapidly increasing technology adoption among the continent’s 1.1 billion millennials and Gen-Zers. A report released in 2021 from Newzoo and Carry1st, showed that the number of gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to increase by 275% over 10 years, leading to a 728% increase in revenue. Carry1st has positioned itself to be the conduit for international and local mobile game companies to profitably serve these consumers.
Carry1st provides a full stack publishing solution, handling user acquisition, live operations, community management, and monetization for its partners. The company enhances monetization in the region through its embedded payments solution and online marketplace for virtual goods, which allows underbanked customers to pay for content in their preferred way.
Andreessen Horowitz General Partner David Haber adds: “We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company in Carry1st, a next-generation 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.”