UK’s VC fund Hiro Capital leads €12.3M investment in three video game studios: Find out here

Hiro Capital

London-based Hiro Capital is an entrepreneur-led Venture Capital fund focused on sectors such as video games, the metaverse, esports, and digital fitness. The fund has, today, announced that it has invested $ 15M (approx €12.34M) into three creative games studios – Snowprint in Stockholm/Berlin, Double Loop Games in San Francisco and Happy Volcano in Belgium

About Hiro Capital

Hiro Capital is a technology venture capital fund that invests in the UK, US, and European innovators in games, metaverse technology, esports, and digital fitness. It usually invests at the post-seed Series A and B stages. 

“We invest both in front-end content creators in games, esports and digital sports, and in deep tech metaverse applications of cloud, mobile, streaming, big data, AI, wearables, AR, and VR technologies. We back experienced entrepreneurial teams, building innovative technologies and content with a strongly differentiated proposition and with the scaling opportunity to become very large,” the company mentions in a statement.

The VC funds believe that games, esports, and digital sports will be a central pillar of entertainment, economic, and social life in the mid 21st century.

“The addition of these three exciting Games studios brings our total investments to 11, with more deals to be announced soon,” says Cherry Freeman, co-founding Partner at Hiro Capital.

The portfolio of Hiro Capital also includes Flavourworks, Polyarc, Lightfox, LIV.tv, Edgegap, Fix XR, and Nurvv.

How will the firms use the funds?

All three video game studios will use Hiro’s investment to expand their development pipelines and accelerate global growth. 

Ian Livingstone, a co-founding partner at Hiro Capital says, “Each studio has demonstrated innovation and expertise in developing fun-to-play games which resonate with today’s audiences. I’m especially pleased that one of the studios came through our first Dark Star™ event for emerging indies looking to scale their businesses. If only venture capital had been interested in the games sector back in the 1970s, I might not have had to sleep in a van during the early days of Games Workshop!”

Snowprint Studios

The Stockholm-based company was founded in 2015 and is led by industry veterans Alexander Ekvall and Patrik Lindegren, each formerly of King; John Hargelid, formerly of Paradox Interactive; and Wilhelm Osterberg, formerly of Wooga.

Snowprint Studios operates their debut mobile title Legend of Solgard and is now also working on three new mobile projects, including Rivengard, a turn-based tactics game that launched globally on 21st January 2021, as well as an undisclosed AAA mobile IP coming soon out of its Berlin studio.

Alexander Ekvall says, “The team has a deep understanding of building successful games companies and this is reflected in the support they provide. The backing from Hiro means we are better equipped than ever to execute on our mission to deliver genre-defining experiences.”

Double Loop Games

San Francisco-based Double Loop Games, founded in 2019, is a social mobile studio dedicated to making delightful, relaxing experiences for the biggest audience in games. The team’s leaders are industry veterans Emily Greer, co-founder of Kongregate; and Shelby Moledina, formerly of Warner Bros., Interactive Entertainment, and DeNA. 

The company is working on its debut game, and will soon launch its social mobile title, made for players who don’t think of themselves as gamers.

Happy Volcano

Belgium-based Happy Volcano was founded in 2015 by David Prinsmel, Jeroen Janssen, and Peter Maasen. The company has released the critically acclaimed narrative exploration game The Almost Gone and is currently working on a new soon-to-launch cross-platform game You Suck at Parking.

Hiro Capital’s future plan

Luke Alvarez, founding partner of Hiro Capital said, “Hiro was founded to invest in the super-sector of games, sports, and metaverse technologies. On every dimension, in every market, 2020/21 has been a story of strong growth – in users, sales, devices, stream views, and innovations. People fell in love, got married and graduated in games, and are coming out of lockdown stronger thanks to gamified wearables and VR fitness tech. As a VC, it is exciting to see our sector focus so emphatically confirmed. Finally, Hiro is a diverse team and so are these new studios, including our first female Games founders, Emily and Shelby (Double Loop Games).”

The venture capital is looking for more ambitious games entrepreneurs and will be launching the next Dark Star event for Games Studios in March 2021. 

Dark Star 2.0 will give game studios looking for investment the chance to hear from Hiro Capital’s partners and portfolio entrepreneurs about how and why to position themselves for venture funding.

Startups – Silicon Canals

How can i find an advisor for my fintech startup

Hi,

I am a founder of a Nigerian/UK fintech startup. My startup is at the early stage and i am looking for an advisor preferably a UK based to work with.

Where is the best place i can find a commited and experienced candidate? I can't afford a salary payment but i can offer a reasonable amount of equity.

Note: Company is incorporated in the UK

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

[BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Patents New Mobile Authentication System

BioCatch has patented a mobile authentication technique that verifies the identity of a user based on the way they interact with their mobile device. The company now has a total of 57 US patents, including two others that were granted in the past month alone.

Read more here.

The post [BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Patents New Mobile Authentication System appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

2up launches ahead of Valentine’s Day to help gamers find one another

People don’t often equate gaming with dating, but maybe they should. As gaming continues to grow in popularity, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, a new startup called 2up is launching to help gamers connect both on and off screen.

The app was founded by sibling duo Stephanie and Lincoln Smith, who have been gamers since they were young.

2up

Image Credits: 2up

2up isn’t specifically a dating app — users can specify if they’re looking for new friends, new teammates or a romantic connection on the app. They also can share their preferred console or platform, favorite games and whether they prefer to play games competitively or casually, filtering down their potential matches based on aligned interests.

Delightfully, 2up is designed with an old-school 8-bit aesthetic.

The startup plans on generating revenue through a premium subscription, not unlike other matching and dating apps. A premium subscription will provide unlimited swiping, as well as Charms. Charms are the equivalent of a Super Like, helping users get the attention of someone with whom they’re interested in matching.

At launch, one month of premium 2up will cost $ 19.99, six months costs $ 12.49 per month and a yearly subscription costs $ 8.49 per month (iOS and Android).

2up also has quests, which rewards people for using the app on a daily basis and completing monthly engagement goals. Those who complete quests will be entered into a raffle to win a real-world prize like a gaming headset, gaming chair or even a new console.

“2up is one network that unites gamers,” said Stephanie Lincoln. “There are so many different consoles, and there are all these different forums and communities. We wanted to unify everything and put everyone in one place. We knew that there was a need for something that was more intimate. We wanted to deliver a way for that same community to connect one-on-one, on screen and off screen, to bring people together.”

2up has been bootstrapped since its inception.

Startups – TechCrunch

I need to find the right tech partner. What should I be looking for?

So a little background. I ended up partnering with a skilled developer on a recent project that didn't go anywhere as they ended up getting really busy on other projects so the project has stalled. I'm considering shutting this project down and finding the right tech partner that has the skills to build a product and a business with me. My background is in business development, product management, and sales/marketing. I plan on handling the business side of the partnership and I'm looking for a tech partner that can build a product and business that I have in mind.

The product that I want to build will start as an app with a database, then down the road well need to create a website for the business where the customers will be able to use either the app or website for our product.

What type of skills should I be looking for in a tech partner and how can I make sure they are committed to the project. As of right now I have the entire business plan laid out. I just need to find the right person to go on this journey with me. But I'm having trouble finding that right person.

Thanks!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

10 European startups helping you find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift

There is nothing wrong with going traditional (read: flowers, chocolates, jewellery) this Valentine’s Day. But during extraordinary times (read: pandemic) it could also be a good idea to change things up a bit and go for the more innovative, techy vibe for your V-day gifts. Every year at EU-Startups, we compile a list of European…

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The post 10 European startups helping you find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift first appeared on EU-Startups.

EU-Startups

WorkStep, a startup that helps large employers find and retain frontline workers, raises $10.5M Series A

Finding, and retaining, frontline workers has likely never been as critical as it is in these pandemic days.

Enter WorkStep, a four-year-old startup that was founded with the mission of helping large supply chain employers do just that. The fully distributed company announced this morning that it has closed on a $ 10.5 million Series A round, building on top of a previously unannounced $ 6.7 million seed funding that included equity and a convertible note.

FirstMark Capital led the Series A financing, which included participation from returning backer and strategic partner Prologis Ventures.

Dan Johnston, co-founder and CEO of WorkStep, said the Employee Lifecycle Management (ELM) software platform was designed to not only help large supply chain employers source new frontline employers, but to also onboard, train and keep them happier with the goal of them staying on board longer. Johnston experienced some of the challenges firsthand when he managed a warehouse in Portland, Oregon, more than a decade ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance of the work frontline employees do — from serving food to delivering packages. But with the increasing dependence on supply chain labor came record turnover, points out Johnston — leaving many companies understaffed and remaining workers stretched thin.

WorkStep claims to provide human resources, recruiting and operations leaders “full transparency” across the employee lifecycle to help companies minimize that churn. The company had previously built out its cloud-based Hire™ offering and then last fall, launched its Retain™ product. 

 “The pandemic has forced companies of all sizes to prioritize the health, safety and satisfaction of frontline teams,” he said. 

Its customers include hundreds of industrial, logistics, transportation and warehousing employers across North America –– including regional 3PLs (third-party logistics companies) and distribution centers, as well as 16 of the Fortune 500. Customers include grocery chain Kroger, Alpine Food Distributing and TransPak, among others.

WorkStep says it has “reached” 500,000 supply chain workers over the years.

WorkStep claims that its Retain offering reduced turnover by up to 29% for a Fortune 100 food & beverage company with whom it conducted a case study. This saves companies money in replacement and retraining expenses, which can add up. 

As a result of launching Retain last fall, according to Johnston, WorkStep saw its business more than double in the second half of 2020. This led the company to end the year as “bottom line profitable,” meaning that its revenue exceeded expenses in the last two months of the year.

And while WorkStep did not necessarily need to take on new capital, the company saw an opportunity to double down so it could continue to scale, Johnston said.

“This was an opportunistic round,” he told TechCrunch. “The turnover in this segment has become a core focus.”

WorkStep plans to use its new funding to more than double the size of its existing team of 14 employees across engineering, product, sales and customer success departments this year and triple it by the end of fiscal year 2022.  

FirstMark Capital’s Adam Nelson was in the room with the company during its first whiteboard sessions and believes WorkStep is addressing a “massive” opportunity.

“We think the real differentiator between WorkStep and the existing solutions in the space is that WorkStep doesn’t see temporary staffing/gig liquidity as a solution,” Nelson told TechCrunch. “They see it as a symptom of a multi-hundred-billion-dollar deadweight loss that’s created when employers aren’t able to find, train and retain the right people.”

WorkStep, he added, is addressing the full employee lifecycle and leveraging the data “to give a voice to frontline workers while also making employers smarter and more proactive.”

Startups – TechCrunch

[BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Pushes for Behavioral Biometrics on Mobile Banking Channels

BioCatch is encouraging financial institutions to use behavioral biometrics to secure their mobile banking platforms. The company noted that mobile banking limits the utility of security solutions that try to verify the user based on a device’s network and location, since mobile technology allows people to conduct business while on the go.

Read more here.

The post [BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Pushes for Behavioral Biometrics on Mobile Banking Channels appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Where to find people to gauge interest during idea phase?

I'm a first-time solo founder, and I believe I've fallen into what I've now realized is a pretty common blunder. I've built out an MVP for a product guided by a few outreach calls over the past few months. I now have a potential angel investor lined up, however he's now asking me for metrics showing that people want to use this product. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't have that evidence outside of 3-4 anecdotal conversations.

My product relies on a kind of trilateral user base similar to Plaid. The first prong is a set of large institutions – this is who I figured I'd try to attract last, and I have a plan for how to do that. The second prong is a much larger set of developers – this is who I've been (unsuccessfully) trying to get a hold of over mainly LinkedIn. The third prong is basically anyone – this is who I realized I should've been focusing on first, but I haven't done anything as of yet. The largest group can feed into the larger group can feed into the small group, the way I now see it.

I've been lurking here for a bit now, and have seen a lot of advice indicating that I should build some sort of signup form that lets people into the beta / waitlist / whatever. This creates a pre-built supply of customers, and also would provide me something to show this potential investor.

It seems like the steps many founders follow are:

  1. Build a landing page / signup / etc
  2. Get people to sign up / download / etc, then tell them they're in the beta / waitlist and will hear back soon
  3. Build the product once you've gotten enough funding

**I feel like there's a huge gap between Step 1 and Step 2… getting "people" to your landing page for your unknown company that still has no product, revenue, etc seems like a fool's errand…**

Most people on this site advise not paying for an ad campaign to attract people to your landing page. How would you go about getting interest, then? Engaging on Twitter / Clubhouse / Reddit?

(If it's not clear by now: I'm an engineer-turned-product person, not a digital marketing person lol).

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!