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South African Mobile Gaming Startup Carry1st Raises $6m Series A to Scale Across Africa

South African startup Carry1st, a mobile games publishing platform that enables global gaming studios to unlock the untapped African market, has raised US$6 million in Series A funding to help it scale further.

Launched in 2019 and based in Cape Town, Carry1st is a mobile games publisher serving the first generation of African smartphone users that has so far reached over 1.5 million users across the region.

The company provides a full stack publishing solution, handling distribution, localisation, user acquisition, marketing, customer experience, and monetisation for its partners. Carry1st’s Pay1st platform is an embedded fintech solution which consolidates the most well-adopted payment methods in six African countries, allowing customers to pay in their preferred way.

Carry1st raised a US$2.5 million seed round last year, and has now taken its total secured investment to US$9.5 million with its Series A raise. The US$6 million round was led by Colorado-based video game VC firm Konvoy Ventures, with participation from Riot Games, Raine Ventures, AET Fund / Akatsuki, and TTV Capital.

The startup will use the funding to secure new partnerships with global gaming studios, launch and scale its existing portfolio of games, and expand its product, engineering, and growth teams.

“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across game development, publishing, and fintech,” said Cordel Robbin-Coker, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Carry1st. “In 2020, we were able successfully sign seven great titles, recruit a top notch international team, and build out our payments and digital commerce platform. With this investment, we’re positioned to delight millions of users across Africa and the globe.”

Jackson Vaughan, the Konvoy Ventures managing partner who will be joining Carry1st’s board, said the company was helping to bring mobile gaming to Africa by solving for distribution with its payment infrastructure and approaching sub-regions with contextual understanding.

“Cordel, Lucy, and Tino are incredible founders with strong experience on the continent. We’re excited to lead their Series A and support them as they continue to bring joy to their users across the continent,” he said.