Nordic Game sat down last week with Nordic Game Ventures co-founders Timo Ylikangas, Erik Robertson and Stefan Lindeberg (pictured from left to right above) to learn more about NGV and their plans for the future:
NG: Can you please explain: What exactly is Nordic Game Ventures?
NGV: It is a structure to bring more early venture capital equity investments to the Nordic game developers and games ecosystem.
NG: What makes it unique compared to other investment initiatives in the games industry?
NGV: Since the closing of the Nordic Game Program, the nearest similarity, there has not been any Nordic-focus professional games investing.
There are many venture capital funds that invest in game studios and games tech, but they are generalist tech investors and seldom focused on the Nordics. There are also global games-focused investors, but they are not “real” VC funds, but usually private partnerships.
Our goal is to make it possible for Nordic pension funds and similar investors to invest in the hugely successful Nordic games sector. They haven’t been able to do that before, especially regarding early-stage investments, because they need funds and managers that operate under financial supervisory authority oversight. We can offer them that today, and that is unique, being focused on the Nordics, on games and games ecosystem, while being a “proper” fund.
NG: It seems like NGV’s current portfolio consists mainly of companies providing services, and not actual game production studios. Why?
NGV: We are constructing a balanced fund, with both “hit potential” creatives and lower-risk infrastructure development, where portfolio companies could support each other. It is to some extent by chance that many of our investments so far have been in the ecosystem.
However, you heard it here first, we have just invested in Helsinki-based Quicksave, that does multiplayer games for messaging platforms, and very well positioned for rapid hit-driven growth.
NG: NGV only invests in Nordic companies. What’s the reasoning behind that?
NGV: When you take on investors you want their money, their networks and their expertise. We’re not the greatest of experts on everything, but there is no-one in the Nordic games industry who does not know someone who already knows at least one of us personally.
So we have access and we have trust, and we certainly have some of that also outside the Nordics, but not uniquely so, like here at home.
Also, when you focus, why not focus on the world leaders? Only Canada can compete with us in how large a proportion of the workforce is devoted to making games.
NG: What’s the procedure if you’re interested in being invested in by NGV? Where do you start? What do you need to consider when applying?
NGV: It is very good to have a two or three-page pitch, clearly explaining the unique strengths of your first product or service, and the well thought-out way you’re bringing it to market, as well as why the team is ideally suited to do this. Tell us what you are offering, how much you wnat for it, and how you would use that money. Extra points may be given for reasoning about future products and how the competitors might react to your market entry.
And then you have one of those people that know us pass it to us with their recommendation. As a fall-back there is also an email address on our site.
NG: What are the future plans for NGV? Any upcoming and exciting news you can reveal here?
NGV: After this summer we will be raising a second larger 35MEUR fund, that will not only allow us to invest in 10-20 more companies, but also to follow-on in some later investment rounds.
It is important that we can invest more from the region to support our entrepreneurs and their companies’ growth longer, postponing the exits, because if more of the winnings remain here, they will be re-invested here, and if the jobs remain here, we all win.
NG: What is the relation between NGV and Nordic Game? Will companies be able to meet NGV at the upcoming NG20+ conference in Malmö in November?
NGV: There is a very clear ownership connection today, in me, but when it comes to management we are gradually separating, says Erik Robertson.
Of course NGV will also be wherever the best Nordic game developers meet, adds Timo Ylikangas.
NG: Any further comments?
NGV: If you have hesitating investors, that really would like to invest in the games industry but are uncomfortable betting just on your company, do send them to us, concludes Stefan Lindeberg.
NG: Thanks for your time and answers!
About Nordic Game Ventures
Nordic Game Ventures invests exclusively in unlisted early stage game development and games ecosystem SME companies in the Nordic region that show outstanding team competence, exceptional content and a solid market approach.
Learn more about Nordic Game Ventures at nordicgameventures.com.