SOUTH AFRICA – Carry1st, a mobile gaming startup, has raised a Series Seed round of US$2.5 million led by CRE Venture Capital with participation from Perivoli Innovations, Chandaria Capital, Lateral Capital, Transsion’s Future Hub, and Kam Kronenberg III, among others.
Pardon Makumbe, Managing Partner at CRE, and Henry Lowenfels, Chief Product Officer of One Team Partners (former Scopely SVP), will join the board.
Carry1st is the leading mobile games publisher serving the first generation of African smartphone users. Since launching in 2019, the company has reached over 1.5 million users across the region.
“Social gaming is the largest and fastest-growing form of mobile media, grossing more than three times all other app categories combined. Our mission is to bring this world of interactive content to Africa and likewise to connect Africa to the world,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, Carry1st CEO and former Carlyle dealmaker.
“Our belief is that building a local publisher, with differentiated tech and operating capabilities across marketing, distribution, and monetization is the way to be this bridge. We are pleased to partner with CRE and our investor group to accelerate this vision.”
Founded by Cordel Robbin-Coker, Lucy Hoffman, and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu, the company addresses key challenges in Africa for consumers and content producers alike. Carry1st serves the world’s fastest-growing market, set to add over 350 million smartphone users and increase data consumption by 17x by 2025.
“We are excited to partner with the world-class team at Carry1st to take the pain out of distributing and monetizing games across Africa. The continent is young, vibrant, and mobile-first — by focusing on the building blocks, we believe Carry1st is well-positioned to define the category, and catalyse the development of the industry for Africa’s over 1.3 billion consumers,” CRE Partner, Pardon Makumbe said.
By providing tailored content, localized engagement, and payments solutions, Carry1st aspires to accelerate the growth of the African mobile content market, which is already projected to increase by 400% over 5 years.
“It’s really exciting to be part of developing a new industry in an emerging region. In doing so, we will stimulate thousands of jobs and drive digital inclusion. When people come online for the first time, they want to connect with people and have fun. In these unusual times we are reminded of the power of games to delight, to educate, and ultimately to unite,” Lucy Hoffman, Carry1st VP of Operations said.
Carry1st Trivia was ranked the #1 free-to-play Android game in Nigeria and Kenya; and was named the Best Media & Entertainment Solution for 2019. The company plans to partner with international studios to launch multiple games in 2020 and scale its audience to over a million monthly active users.