Recently, our Atomico games team outlined their investment thesis in an extensive two part blog post.   In that post we said that it is still early days for games and there are plenty of areas that have yet to be explored, let alone fully tapped. At recent meetings with companies, we’ve seen a number of cool things being done within social, on PC, with Twitch and YouTube. Boundaries continue to blur with the likes of EVE Online (from fellow Icelandic games company CCP), which has an in-game open economy, and Worlds Adrift that pushes the importance of game content creation by gamers even further and makes the integration of emerging player stories and sharing them on video platforms such as Twitch central to its marketing.   We also stated that the growing social element of a game is why we think another giant will soon emerge, built on a fusion of gaming and social networking. People are united by games — they always have been. From cards or chess to playing Doom or Civilization with your friends, as Mattias and Alexis did back in the early nineties — games are a fundamentally social activity; an ice-breaker between cultures and people as you […]

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In part two of our series on games investing at Atomico, I am joined by my fellow Games Team members and co-authors Stephen Thorne and Alexis Bonte as we lift the lid on our evaluation framework for any companies considering raising venture capital, we share the inside track on how Atomico works with our games company founders, and, finally, we share our view on what’s next for games in Europe in 2018 and beyond.   According to legend, the Chinese Emperor Yao 堯 (2356–2255 BC) designed Go for his wayward playboy son, Danzhu 丹朱, to instil in him discipline, concentration, and balance. Four thousand years later, games still have the power to inspire profound changes to the way we communicate, keep in touch with friends, even start businesses or learn the basic skills of life, and yes, entertain ourselves too. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Part Two: Hunting the next Supercell. Our evaluation framework There’s no silver bullet or magic formula for spotting the next great games company (or sure-fire hit game), and data alone will only get you so far… So at Atomico we have developed a framework for evaluating games by zeroing-in on the characteristics we believe the best-in-class […]

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This post originally appeared on Medium here. If you’d like more analysis and insight like this, delivered monthly(ish) to your inbox, sign up to The Operator’s Manual (our newsletter) here. Part One: Landscape and Heritage.   If there’s one area of the technology ecosystem in which Europe out-guns the Valley and – China aside – the rest of the world, it’s in games.   The European games industry is a non-stop unicorn juggernaut: more than a quarter (25.9%) of all the billion dollar-plus games companies founded over the last 15 years were born here. Among them, of course, a slew of Scandinavian household names such as Supercell (Finland), King (Sweden/UK), Rovio (Finland), Mojang (Sweden) and games engine-maker Unity (Denmark). The US, by contrast, has just three.   When you take into account the sheer scale and effervescence of the Chinese market – China overtook the US in 2016 to become the world’s largest market by spend, where gamers now spend over $25bn-a-year on games – it comes as no surprise that the country dominates the sector overall, claiming 11 of the 27 billion dollar-plus games companies founded over that period.   However – tellingly — if you focus on the […]

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Happy New Year!   At Atomico, we’re looking forward to the exciting year ahead finding and investing in Europe’s most ambitious founders at Series A and beyond.   To do that we know we need to provide founders with the very the best team, which is why we’ve spent the last few years assembling a unique mix of investors, founders and operators all of whom have hard-won experience they can share. But we’re never complacent and to kick of 2018, we’re proud to announce the addition of two Venture Partners.   Carter Adamson & Alexis Bonte After working with us as Executives-in-Residence for one and two years respectively, Alexis Bonte and Carter Adamson, have agreed to become fully fledged Atomicans and are joining us permanently.   Alexis will continue to combine his advising and sourcing work at Atomico with his leadership role as CEO of eRepublik Labs, which was acquired by Stillfront in June 2017, his new role at Atomico will make it easier for him to share his deep understanding of the games, blockchain and travel sectors to help us find and work with the best founders. In particular Alexis has an extensive network in his native France, as […]

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  Today we’re very happy to congratulate the team at Rovio on the company’s initial public offering in its native Finland. An IPO is an incredible achievement and is a reflection of the years of hard work, passion and commitment shown by all of our friends on the team there.   We’ve believed in Rovio from the beginning, and it has been a privilege to have been invited to play a small part in their journey since their Series A round back in 2011. Back then we were struck by the ambition and imagination of the team, which continues to shine today. Just because you come from a country of 5.5 million, doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact on billions of people. Rovio is just the latest example of a team from Europe proving that great companies can, and do, come from anywhere.

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  At Atomico we take investing in fun seriously. Our recent report on the evolution of the games industry shows that it is now worth over $100bn in annual revenue. We’ve seen the explosive growth in the games sector first-hand on our journeys with portfolio companies Supercell and Rovio as they’ve scaled around the world, delighting millions with their creations.   While mobile gaming has enjoyed a meteoric rise, we’re now also seeing a renaissance in groundbreaking PC gaming, and in particular in independent PC games studios. Worlds Adrift is setting new standards of ambition and creativity, and we’re thrilled to announce we’re leading a $10m Series A investment in Worlds Adrift’s developer, BAFTA-winning, London-based Bossa Studios.

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In the latest of our occasional series of interviews with founders and CEOs – distributed each month through the Atomico newsletter, which you can sign up to here – we talk to Kati Levoranta of Rovio

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At the launch of Europe Meets China, our new report on the games industry, our Head of Research (and the report’s author) Tom Wehmeier spoke at length to the Atomico Games Team – Mattias Ljungman, Alexis Bonte and Stephen Thorne – about their thoughts on the state of the industry, its direction, and how they see Europe and China competing and consolidating in the future…

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Two weeks ago, I was honoured to be able to present our research report ‘Europe Meets China’ to an audience of Chinese games industry luminaries in Shanghai. Today I’m equally honoured to be able to share it with the wider world; it’s a fascinating look at one of the biggest and fastest-growing sectors in the world, one which has an almost limitless market, and one which is of growing interest to investors worldwide.   The report, which you can download here and which is embedded below, looks at how the games industry is developing and how its particular qualities make synergies between Europe and China so fascinating, from both a development and investment point of view. Obviously I encourage you to download and read the report yourselves and form your own conclusions from the data we present, but I’d also like to share some thoughts of my own – and from Atomico’s wider gaming team – on what it means and what you should take away from it.   Europe Meets China – How The Games Industry Is Evolving from Atomico

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Like successful companies, successful ecosystems go through distinct stages. Having conducted one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken into European tech, it is clear to us that 2015 has been a breakthrough year in which our major hubs have gone to a new level.

View our report in full:

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We could not be happier for our friends at Supercell. Today’s news that Softbank and GungHo have made a strategic investment in Supercell, giving them a 51% share that values the company at $3B, is an amazing story for a company that released its first two games, Clash of Clans and Hay Day, just over a year ago. We take our hats off to what Ilkka Paananen and Mikko Kodisoja, Supercell's co-founders, and their truly phenomenal team have achieved so far – and the even more exciting part is that there is a lot more to come.

When we first met Ilkka and Mikko, we were immediately struck by their global ambition, clear strategy and a genuine passion for building a business with a strong culture of talented people. They deeply understood that a strong brand needs not just passionate customers, but also passionate employees. The more time we spent with them and their team, the more excited we became.

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Anyone who has opened up the iOS app store over the last six months would have seen Supercell dominating the top grossing charts, and not just in western markets, also the much more mature and competitive Asian markets like China, Japan, and Korea, where free-to-play games are nothing new. For Supercell's founders Ilkka and Mikko and their team to achieve this with a game that is yet to be localised and is still just in English is nothing short of remarkable.

Interestingly, we do not invest in many games developers, even though the gaming industry is in the middle of a major disruption, driven by smartphone and tablets, and also the globalisation of platforms enabling the most successful companies to compete in all markets. In fact Supercell is only our third investment in this space, out of nearly 60 investments overall. There are 1000's of great games, and no shortage of quality developers, so why have we been so cautious? And why do we think Supercell is different?

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Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures Co-Lead Investment Round with Felicis Ventures Participating

Espoo, Finland – 10 March, 2011 – Rovio, the creator of the Angry Birds entertainment franchise, today announced a $42m Series A investment in the company to facilitate its strategic expansion.

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