SA mobile gaming startup Carry1st raises 20m from Google, a16z

South African mobile gaming startup Carry1st raised a US$20million Series A extension round of investors from Andreessen Horowitz and Avenir to help it scale across Africa.


Carry1st was founded in 2018 in Cape Town. It is a mobile games publisher that serves the first generation African smartphone users. The company has sold millions of games, including Mine Rescue and SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off. To better market content, the startup also offers proprietary payments and an online marketplace.

In May last year Carry1st raised US$6million in Series A funding. It has since announced a US$20million extension to this round. This was led by Andreessen Hoowitz (a16z). A16z, founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz is a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that invests in multiple stages and has US$28.2 Billion in assets. It also manages multiple funds. Its first African investment is Carry1st.

Additionally, AvenirGoogle and a variety of angel investors are participating in the round, including Grammy winner and crypto investor N as well as founders of Chipper Cash and Sky Mavis and Yield Guild Games. The company is being supported by Carry1st’s May 2020 Series A investors, including Riot Games and Konvoy VenturesRaine Ventures and TTV capital.

Carry1st’s 96 percent monthly revenue growth will allow it to use the additional capital for content expansion, product engineering and growth teams growth, and acquisition of tens or millions of users. It’s also expanding into game development, working closely with top game studios to develop original ideas and establishing the infrastructure necessary for play-to-earn gaming.

Cordel Robbins-Coker, cofounder and CEO at Carry1st, stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with this elite group of investors who, aside from capital, bring expertise across gaming and fintech and web3,”

“In 2021, we launched multiple digital commerce solutions and games. This helped us achieve strong growth.” We can all work together to accelerate our growth and reach our goal of becoming the largest consumer internet company in the region.

General partner David Haber of Andreessen Horowitz said that he was thrilled to make the firm’s first investment into an Africa-based company in Carry1st.

We see tremendous opportunity for the company, which could mirror our successes in markets such as India, China, and Southeast Asia. He said that he couldn’t have been more pleased to be a partner with Cordel, Lucy and Tino on their mission to build Garena of Africa.

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