Carry1st, an African mobile and web3 gaming publisher, has announced a $20 million Series A extension round led by the web3-obsessed venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Other participants in the round include:
- Hip-hop legend Nas
- The founders of Axie Infinity
- Chipper Cash Founders, Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moualed
According to a16z:
“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company. We see immense opportunity for the company to mirror outstanding successes we’ve seen in markets like India, China, and Southeast Asia.”
Carry1st is Africa’s leading mobile and web3 games publisher, serving over one million users today.
Its investors are however more drawn by the fact that Carry1st has aggregated Africa’s disparate payment networks into a modern fintech platform, ultimately creating a one-stop solution for other game publishers to manage, distribute, and collect payments from end-users across 90 different payment methods.
In November 2021, in a move to further accelerate digital payments in Africa, Carry1st partnered with payments firm, PayPal, and cross-border payments platform, Chipper Cash, to launch a new product, Carry1st Shop.
Carry1st Shop enables people across the continent to shop online for virtual goods and digital services and buy everything from pre-paid electricity and mobile data to game assets for PUBG (Player Unknown Battleground), ROBLOX, and SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off.
The fintech product also provides ways for people to pay, including mobile money, crypto and bank transfers – all adding back to the visions of offering a single digital location for secure purchases of gaming assets, lifestyle content, and other digital needs.
According to Cordel Robbin-Coker, CEO and Co-Founder, Carry1st:
“In 2021, we launched multiple games and digital commerce solutions achieving really strong growth. Together, we can accelerate this growth and achieve our goal of becoming the leading consumer internet company in the region.”
– CEO / Co-Founder, Carry1st
The firm, which says it has witnessed 96% monthly revenue growth, will use the additional capital to expand its content portfolio, grow its product, engineering and growth teams, and acquire tens of millions of new users.
Carry1st also says it is expanding into game co-development, working with leading game studios on original concepts, and developing the infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming.
Founded by Robbin-Coker, COO, Lucy Hoffman, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu, the Cape Town-based team employs 37 people across 18 countries.
Some of its game titles include:
- Mine Rescue
- Match League
- Football Clash
- PUBG (Player Unknown Battleground)
- SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off
The gaming industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years, creating new opportunities for Web3 and play-to-earn business models across the African continent.
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