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Gaming gurus' €100m fund to boost industry in Europe

By Ashley Norris

Hiro Capital aims to fill funding gap for creative studios and tech developers

A group of gaming entrepreneurs has announced plans to supercharge the industry in the UK and Europe via a €100 million (£86 million, $110 million) fund.

Hiro Capital, whose team includes Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone, Inspired Entertainment co-founder Luke Alvarez and Lovecrafts founder Cherry Freeman, is targeting what it believes is a funding gap in the market.

The find is aimed primarily at the UK and Europe, which Alvarez called "a rich and fertile area" for ambitious tech firms.It will split investments between creative games studios and industry technology.

It hopes to offer Series A and B funding to companies that have previously raised investment via private sources.

"We feel strongly that there's been this capital gap in our set of industries," Alvarez said. "There's a clear lack of post-seed capital, particularly in Europe. There are lots of entrepreneurs who have made good money and will invest as angels, but very little capital available once a business needs investment of between €1 million and €15 million."

Both the gaming and e-sports industries are booming. A report from Newzoo highlighted 2019 as marking a major milestone for the global e-sports market, which will for the first time exceed $1 billion in revenue. Hiro Capital estimates its three chosen sectors of global gaming, e-sports and digital sports represent a total value of $200 billion.

Europe’s gaming industry enjoyed a vibrant 2018, producing 123 PC and console games, more than America's 78 and Asia's 103.

Hiro Capital's team has apparently already met some 250 companies this year. Roughly a third were studios, with the rest split between game-related or sports-related technology.

The fund’s chiefs expect a degree of convergence between gaming, e-sports and emerging technology. Alvarez told Games Industry Biz, "all this new tech coming through is turning our physical movement into data, putting sportspeople into digital and virtual realms, and that's why we see them coming together".

Ian Livingstone said: “Through investing and nurturing the right talent in Europe and the UK, our goal is to generate great returns for our investors and bring much-needed capital to the industry.”

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