Carry1st Raises $6 Million to Grow Its Mobile Gaming Business

By McKenzie Carpenter Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Carry1st, a startup company that publishes mobile games, raised $6 million to scale and grow the business.

A girl playing games on a smartphone.

About Carry1st

Founded in 2018, Carry1st is a South African startup company that publishes mobile app games targeted at the untapped potential of the African gaming market. The business focuses on delivering interactive apps for millions of people across the continent.

According to the startup company, there are 1.3 billion people in Africa with an average age of 19. This subsequently makes Africa the fastest growing mobile app gaming market in the world. In addition, the business claims that in 5 years, Africa will have double the number of gamers compared to North America today.

In an interview with GamesBeat regarding why Carry1st was founded, COO Lucy Hoffman said, “We essentially just got really inspired by some of the dominant demographic trends on the continent.” GamesBeat is a sector of VentureBeat, a technology news source.

The company offers a wide range of services to developers through its publishing platform, such as distribution, localization, user acquisition, monetization, marketing, customer experience, and more.

In addition, the business partnered with a few African fintech companies to address payments and monetization issues. Through these critical partnerships, the startup company is developing its own in-house payments platform, Pay1st.

Carry1st currently publishes several mobile app games which include Gebeta, All-Star Soccer, Carry1st Trivia, and Hyper. Some of the apps are currently only available on Google Play. Additionally, mobile app gaming studios like Cosi Games, Qene Games, and Raketspel are Carry1st customers. The business announced in March that it entered a multi-year publishing deal with Raketspel to publish the studio’s new app, Mine Rescue!.

$6 Million Series A

Carry1st raised $6 million in a Series A financing round led by American venture capital firm Konvoy Ventures. Riot Games, Raine Ventures, TTV Capital, and Tokyo’s Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund also participated in this round of funding.

With the new capital, the business has raised $9.5 million in total financing. The startup company previously raised $2.5 million in seed funding in May 2020.

As a result of the new financing, Carry1st plans to scale its existing portfolio of app games and explore new partnerships with global gaming studios to publish in the African region. In addition, the startup company plans to expand its products, engineering, and growth teams. Furthermore, Jackson Vaughn, managing partner at Konvoy Ventures, will join Carry1st’s board.

Mobile Gaming Market

Statista reported that in 2020, mobile app gaming accounted for 50% of video gaming revenue worldwide, and the industry is on track to surpass the $100 billion mark by 2023. In the United States (US) alone, mobile game revenue reached $10.7 billion in 2020.

Elsewhere, Mordor Intelligence reported that by 2050, the population of Africa’s young people (ages 0 to 24) would increase by 50%. This could potentially provide more opportunities for gaming publishers and studios to enter the region. In addition, the African gaming market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12% from 2021 to 2026.

About the Author


Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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