A new bankroller has arrived in town. Makers Fund has raised $200 million for a venture capital fund focused on the global interactive entertainment industry.
Jay Chi, a long-time advisor and veteran of the game, will head the San Francisco-based fund with long-time colleague and partner Michael Cheung, a Tencent and McKinsey alumni from the media and entertainment sector.
Since last summer, Makers Fund has quietly invested in eleven teams across eight cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, backing a wide range of exciting companies in the sector.
“The $108 billion interactive entertainment industry is entering a golden age” said Chi, in a statement. “Over the coming few years we will see significant innovation and growth driven by unleashed creators leveraging better tools, wider markets, greater proliferation of hardware, and deepening mainstream acceptance of the medium.”
Chi added, “Even in just the past year we have witnessed incredible industry innovation, much of which are driven by the raw, unbridled strength of small players. We believe in the upstart makers in this industry, and that they are just getting started.”
The founders noted that larger Internet and tech companies are becoming increasingly active in the game and entertainment market, raising the potential for growth and acquisitions, and that is creating new opportunities for founders and investors.
Asked by email to elaborate, Chi said that the fund will invest in more than games.
The fund will invest in “interactive entertainment, which is a bit larger than gaming itself,” Chi said. “It will be anchored by key content companies, but we will also invest in other companies in this space — along the value chain, such as tools and platforms, data providers, etc. Sector wise, it does cover gaming, streaming/interactive streaming, eSports, extended reality, etc.”
He added, “It’s important to note that we’re highly thesis driven as investors. We typically look at what are technologies and user needs that are emergent in the next 18 to 36 months and invest in companies that will have a good chance of creating products that addresses though emerging needs. Genvid is a good example as we see that interactive gaming / streaming experience will begin to proliferate in the next two to three years.”
However, investing in the industry can be difficult due to its unique combination of creativity and technology and the speed at which it all moves. Innovation and new content is often driven by culture and requires deeper insights, networks, and a global perspective to not only keep up-to-date but preempt trends, the founders believe.
“We founded Makers Fund to lead the way by bringing together a team of global, cross-industry individuals who possess a deep passion for the industry,” said Cheung, in a statement.
The team includes Ryann Lai and Richie Zhu who bring local experience in North America and China.
Makers Fund is announcing it has backed Bossa Studios (BAFTA winning team), FaceIT (esports matchmaking platform), Genvid (interactive streaming engine), Typhoon Studios (Ubisoft veterans spinout studio), SuperData (gaming and esports market intelligence provider), and game publisher tinyBuild. It previously noted it had backed Klang Games (genre-breaking simulation-based MMO) and Teacher Gaming (educational gaming content platform).