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Carry1st Raises $6m Series A Funding to Scale its Mobile Games Portfolio in Africa

Carry1st, a South African mobile games publishing startup has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Konvoy Ventures with participation from Riot Games, Raine Ventures, AET Fund/Akatsuki, and TTV Capital.

The investment round will be used to enter new partnerships, launch and scale its existing portfolio of games, and expand its product, engineering, and growth teams.

As part of the raise, Konvoy Venture’s managing partner Jackson Vaughan will join the board of Carry1st.

This takes Carry1st’s total funding to $9.5 million. Last year, it raised $2.5 million led by CRE Ventures Capital.

Founded in 2018 by Cordell Robbin-Coker, Lucy Hoffman, and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu, and with offices in the US and South Africa, Carry1st provides a full publishing solution, handling distribution, localization, user acquisition, marketing, customer experience, and monetization for its partners.

Carry1st’s Pay1st platform is an embedded fintech solution that consolidates popular payment methods in six African countries, allowing customers to pay in their preferred way.

“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across game development, publishing, and fintech,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, Co-Founder and CEO of Carry1st. “In 2020, we were able successfully to sign seven great titles, recruit a top-notch international team, and build out our payments and digital commerce platform. With this investment, we’re positioned to delight millions of users across Africa and the globe.”

Vaughan said: “Carry1st is helping to bring mobile gaming to Africa by solving for distribution with their payment infrastructure and approaching sub-regions with contextual understanding. Cordel, Lucy, and Tino are incredible founders with strong experience on the continent. We’re excited to lead their Series A and support them as they continue to bring joy to their users across the continent”.

Brendan Mulligan, Head of Corporate Development at Riot Games, added: “At Riot, we have seen first hand the importance of partnering with local experts to bring the best possible gaming experience to players. As the number of gamers in Africa explodes, we’re excited to work with Cordel and Carry1st as they introduce game developers from all over the world to an important and passionate audience.”

Carry1st has since signed publishing deals for seven games from a number of leading studios, including Sweden’s Raketspel, which has over 120 million downloads across its portfolio. Other partners include New York-based Cosi Games and Ethiopian developer Qene Games.