Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, the venture capital arm of Sony Group Corporation, has announced a strategic investment in Carry1st, a prominent game publisher and digital commerce platform headquartered in Cape Town.
Founded in 2018, Carry1st focuses on mobile games tailored to the growing base of African smartphone users and has successfully engaged millions of users across the region.
Through collaborations with major industry players like Activision, Supercell, and Riot Games, Carry1st has played a pivotal role in scaling popular titles such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Valorant. The platform has also introduced a variety of games, including Africa Glam (Nanobit), Mancala Adventures, SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off, Ludo Blitz, and Mine Rescue, contributing to the vibrant African gaming community.
Carry1st has gone beyond gaming by launching its own payment system and online marketplace, enhancing content monetization. With over $60 million in funding since its inception, the startup has attracted investments from notable entities such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), BITKRAFT, Google, Riot Games, and Nas.
This investment from Sony Innovation Fund: Africa marks the fund's inaugural commitment. Launched in 2023 with a $10 million allocation, the fund focuses on supporting and investing in early-stage and seed-stage startups in the African entertainment sector, spanning gaming, music, movies, and content distribution.
Cordel Robbin-Coker, CEO and co-founder of Carry1st, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "The relationship will help Carry1st to drive the future of gaming in Africa. Our distinct regional capabilities, paired with Sony’s expertise in gaming and entertainment, creates a powerful combination. Together, we hope to bring the best games in the world to players across Africa."
Antonio Avitabile, Managing Director for EMEA at Sony Ventures Corporation, highlighted the untapped potential for the gaming market in Africa. The strategic investment in Carry1st reflects Sony's commitment to contributing to this potential and exploring collaborative opportunities with Carry1st's management team.
The undisclosed investment amount reinforces the commitment of Sony Innovation Fund: Africa to fostering the growth of entertainment businesses in Africa. The fund remains focused on identifying promising initiatives and supporting their development across the continent.