MTG: $11m investments in gaming & eSports start-ups

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Modern Times Group (MTG), the Swedish operational investment company focusing on, eSports and gaming entertainment opportunities worldwide, has revealed its latest VC Fund investments ahead of the company’s Q2 2019 financial report.

  • Investments in H1 2019 amount to a total of $11 million (€9.8m) including capital commitments and span start-up and growth companies in the US and Germany.
  • MTG has to date made 20 investments in 16 companies totalling $21 million thus far from its VC fund to complement its majority stake investments in companies such as ESL and DreamHack in esports and Kongregate and InnoGames in gaming.
  • MTG has its HQ in Stockholm, Sweden, and operates through itself and through its portfolio companies in 30+ countries worldwide.

Among the investments are Redwood City-based Dorian, Austin based game developer Tonk Tonk Games, gamer rewards platform Playfull from Los Angeles, German game studio Sviper founded by Ex-InnoGamers and San Diego-based GoMeta, totalling $11 million in H1 2019.

MTG owns 100 per cent of Swedish DreamHack and over 82 per cent of German founded ESL, the two largest brands in esports worldwide. Its largest VC investments in terms of estimated value are BITKRAFT fund LP positions, AppOnboard, Phoenix Labs, the Play Ventures fund LP position and Sviper. It also owns majority positions in San Francisco-based game studio and publisher Kongregate and German game developer and publisher InnoGames, famous for its hit game Forge of Empires launched 2012 that recently surpassed €500 million in lifetime revenue.

“Gaming and esport is the future of entertainment, and we are excited to invest in what we believe are seven of the most promising early stage startups with excellent teams, products and ideas”, says Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, President and CEO of MTG.

MTG AB complements its majority stake investments with seed and series A round investments in early stage start-ups in gaming and esports through the MTG VC Fund. The ambition is to make eight to 10 deals per year: 60 per cent in gaming, 30 per cent in esports and 10 per cent in AR/VR through lead or co-invests with other top VCs. Since the launch of MTG’s VC Fund in November 2017, the fund has made 20 investments in 16 companies.

“We are already seeing attractive valuation upticks based on latest financing rounds in our investments, such as Phoenix Labs, AppOnboard and the BITKRAFT seed fund. Deal flow and value creation opportunities continue to improve now that we have established MTG as a leading games & esports VC in the West”, says Arnd Benninghoff, EVP esports and games at MTG.

Phoenix Labs recently released its first game in Epic store, AppOnboard recently acquired a no code game creation platform and the BITKRAFT seed fund recently realised an attractive exit of portfolio company The Esports Observer.

In 2018 there were about 2.4 billion video game players in the world, but industry analysts expect that number to grow to 2.9 billion as early as 2022 (Source: Newzoo) – and the global esports audience reached 395 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to 645 million by 2022 (Source: AT Kearney).


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