Hiro Capital, an entrepreneur-led venture capital fund focused on backing innovators in video games, the metaverse, esports and digital fitness, has invested in three international video game studios – Snowprint in Stockholm/Berlin, Double Loop Games in San Francisco and Happy Volcano in Belgium.
The trio join UK and US Games studios Flavourworks, Polyarc and Lightfox in the Hiro Capital portfolio, alongside specialists in the gamification of games streaming and digital fitness LIV.tv, Edgegap, FitXR and Nurvv.
Ian Livingstone, co-founding partner at Hiro Capital, says: “We are excited to begin 2021 by announcing Hiro’s investment in three amazing games studios, Snowprint, Double Loop and Happy Volcano. 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 was founded in 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden and has since grown with a second studio in Berlin. The team 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.
“We had heard great things about Hiro and have been impressed by the entire team from our very first interactions,” says Alexander Ekvall. “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 is a San Francisco-based social mobile game studio working on its debut title. The team is led by industry veterans Emily Greer, co-founder of Kongregate and Shelby Moledina, formerly of Warner Bros, Games and DeNA. Double Loop Games is now preparing to launch its exciting social mobile title, made for players who don’t think of themselves as gamers.
“We’ve been thrilled with the level of insight the Hiro team brings to games and the games industry,” says Emily Greer. “They immediately understood both the upside and the potential challenges around our more innovative mechanics. We look forward to a long and productive partnership with people that we know really get it.”
The third investment is Happy Volcano, a new studio from Belgium that secured funding after attending Hiro Capital’s Dark Star VC investment summit for early stage Games studios. Last year, Happy Volcano released the critically acclaimed narrative exploration game The Almost Gone and are currently working on a new soon-to-launch cross-platform game You Suck at Parking.
“Teaming up with Hiro Capital means we can take the next step on our journey to become a leading creative game studio,” says Jeroen Janssen, Founder and CEO at Happy Volcano. “Attending the Dark Star event in 2020 made it clear to us that Hiro brings a lot of value besides just funding. Knowing that an industry legend like Ian Livingstone is backing your vision gives the entire team confidence that we are on the right path.”
“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. “At Hiro, our mission is to find talented, ambitious teams and help them grow by bringing expertise and capital. We invest in the innovators of the future, and I couldn’t think of a better start to 2021 than these three great studios.”
Luke Alvarez, Founding Partner of Hiro, says: “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.”
Hiro 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.