We’re happy to announce the $8M Series A round for Double Loop, and welcome Hiro Capital, Garena and Riot Games to the party.
When we first heard Emily Greer and Shelby Moledina’s pitch back in 2019, we had never heard quite such a compelling and articulate vision for rebuilding the social experience of mobile games for the female and non-core gamer audience. Their thesis completely matched our outlook for the sector, where the underlying motivations of players for playing these games were not sufficiently addressed with current offerings. Supporting this narrative was their lengthy experience within the industry and keen product instincts. After chatting with Emily for a number of months – including carving out some time for an investment discussion during our 2019 Summit in the Alps – we had full conviction behind the company. There was a perfect founder-investor fit for us; it was only natural that we would lead their seed round in November 2019. Little did we know how quickly a number of their hypotheses would be proven out during 2020…
Emily herself is a bit of a celebrity (not to mention, rockstar) in the gaming industry: through co-founding Kongregate, pioneering early F2P games and eventually leading the company to a successful exit, but additionally as a speaker and mentor for countless gaming startups and a role model for females entering into this traditionally male-dominated industry. In Shelby, she is matched with a seasoned gaming executive and former lead coder with intimate knowledge of game design and product management, honed at companies like DeNA, where she learned the intricate ins and outs of F2P and game operations that is so rare to come by, and often overlooked. They are fantastic additions to our founder community.
Double Loop’s vision is of games as means to relaxation and stress relief – this is most meaningful and longest lasting when the game also connects you to other people and to a community. In their view, most games are addressing this social layer with superficial, ephemeral leaderboards or core gamer constructs – this introduction to games as a social experience for new audiences was and is at best, ill-fitting, and at worst, off-putting. So they set out to focus on and redefine social. Their timing was impeccable, as Covid accelerated this social trend: we are starting to see a shift from the long-reigning paradigm of “coming for the game, staying for the community”, to one that is “social-first” as users have turned to their screens to enable greater communications with friends and family.
The requirements for successful teams and strategy are so much higher than in the early growth days on mobile, which explains why we have not made as many mobile investments in recent times. As mobile has saturated and matured, production budgets increased and margins decreased. There is simply less possibility to learn on the job and teams get fewer shots on goal. In Emily and Shelby however, we found that experience and strategy mix which demonstrates the still existing opportunities in this $75Bn+ market.
Emily’s background from Kongregate also means this will be a cross-platform team, allowing them to use opportunities across all ecosystems to build and engage with their community. This also has further extensions for how you are able to reach and monetise your audience, which unsurprisingly, Emily has predicted with great prescience.
So if you are a gamer, be on the lookout for Double Loop’s first title; if you are an aspiring or seasoned game developer, ping them to see if you can join this journey whilst they are still at this early stage. Once again, congratulations to Emily and Shelby on this milestone. We look forward to the next one.