Helsinki, Finland – The Finnish games company Next Games has successfully completed its first external investment round raising $6 million in financing from an elite list of institutional, strategic and private investors. The studio has begun by crafting two visually impressive, engaging games, one of which is the recently announced collaboration with AMC Networks Inc. on a mobile game based on the incredibly successful TV drama, The Walking Dead.
Founded by design veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney, Next Games has assembled a team with a profound love for games and a burning desire to develop lasting global entertainment. It is not only a passion for games that is driving Next Games – a thoughtful worldview permeates the studio as well.
Next Games’ Series A funding round was co-led by IDG Ventures and the company’s original investor, Jari Ovaskainen, who was also an early investor in Supercell. Joining them is Lowercase Capital, making one of its first ventures into the mobile game sector.
Additional funding has also been provided by Asia based IDG Capital, AMC Networks Ventures LLC, and freshly minted VC firm York Ventures LLC, a recently established early-stage venture vehicle backed the by the Gores brothers, Alec, Tom and Sam; well-known figures in the private equity and entertainment worlds and managed by digital media entrepreneur Peter Levin.
More than a dozen individual financiers, including former Microsoft CMO Mich Mathews, Initial Capital’s Ken Lamb and eOne’s President & CEO Darren Throop, backed the startup’s business plan, as well as executives from a handful of venture capital and entertainment media companies.
“Our funding was made possible by the pioneering work by established Scandinavian game development studios. It is a testament to the talent in the Nordic region where many of the most successful games in recent years have been created,” Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO of Next Games noted. “The majority of our private investment is rooted in the United States and Asia, the world’s leading mobile app markets. I’m confident this diversity will lead to compelling games with broad global appeal and unique opportunities for partnerships, such as the one we currently have with AMC.”
“We are prepared to define the next wave of playful innovation. Our plan is to build titles that people will enjoy for years and a dream team of people passionate with the art of making games,” said Joakim Achrén, Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Product Officer, Next Games.
“I’m thrilled to see a Finnish game studio with such talent and vision hit the runway with this dynamic range of global investors,” stated Jari Ovaskainen, Next Games investor and seed investor of Supercell.
Next Games, founded in 2013 by design veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney, focuses on crafting visually impressive, engaging games. Next Games has assembled a team with a profound love for games and a burning desire to develop lasting global entertainment. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, at the heart of mobile games development, and funded by an elite list of private investors. www.nextgames.com.
IDG Ventures invests in Consumer Internet and Enterprise IT companies. The firm is part of a global network of technology venture funds with approximately $3.7 billion under management and over 200 active portfolio companies in Asia and North America. IDG Ventures works closely with International Data Group (IDG), the world’s largest IT media company. By combining the IDG platform—an unparalleled combination of global publishing, market research, and conference and exhibition resources—with years of hands-on experience in early-stage company building, IDG Ventures helps its portfolio companies understand their markets better and penetrate them faster than their competition. Leading technology companies that IDG has backed include BabyCenter, Epiphany, Excite, F5 Networks, Funzio, Infoseek, Minted, Netscape, and Spinner.com. www.idgvusa.com
Lowercase Capital invests in startups, acquires later stage companies, and advises businesses and funds of all sizes on strategy and execution.
IDG Capital is a member of the IDG investment fund group and managed by IDG Capital Partners team, which is a premier VC & PE investor in China. IDG Capital Partners is primarily focusing on investing related projects in consumer products, franchise services, internet and wireless application, new media, education, healthcare, new energy, and advanced manufacturing sectors. As one of the pioneers of foreign investors to enter the Chinese market, IDG Capital Partners has invested in 200 diverse outstanding companies and has successfully exited from over 60 investments through M&A or IPO in US, Hong Kong and A-share market in China. www.idgvc.com/en/
York Ventures is focused on A round investments with a focus on media-centric opportunities. York’s General Partnership is comprised of the Gores Brothers and related entities and Peter Levin.
Jari Ovaskainen, private investor
Jari Ovaskainen was the founder and CEO of Iobox, 1999-2000, which was sold to Telefonica for €230 million in year 2000. Jari was also Seed Investor in Supercell, which Softbank acquired by 51% in 2013 November, at value of USD 1.53 billion. Jari was awarded Business Angel of the Year, 2013, in Finland