US Rapper Nas, Google Join Investors in African Gaming Platform, Carry1st

US Rapper Nas
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Carry1st, a mobile gaming company focused on Africa, has raised $20 million in funding headed by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Avenir Growth Capital, and musician Nas.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the increased funding will help the four-year-old company to expand its content inventory, grow its workforce, and attract new consumers. Carry1st says it will also collaborate with studios to develop new concepts and infrastructure for play-to-earn games.

“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company in Carry1st,” Andreessen Horowitz General Partner David Haber said.

“We see immense opportunity for the company to mirror outstanding successes we’ve seen in markets like India, China, and Southeast Asia.”

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According to Carry1st’s website, Africa will have twice the amount of gamers as North America does presently by 2027.

The company has connections with companies like Tilting Point, the publisher of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-off, as well as payment gateways like Pay Pal. Quiz and football-related games are also available from the startup.

Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, raised $9 billion earlier this year to invest in a wide spectrum of enterprises.

“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across gaming, fintech, and web3,” said Carry1st Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Cordel Robbin-Coker.

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Gaming is a hot sector around the world, as evidenced by Microsoft Corp.’s decision to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion this week, the company’s largest-ever acquisition.

Nas, one of the round’s smaller investors, has a growing portfolio of over 100 enterprises in addition to his music and film careers. His fund has invested in Coinbase Global Inc., DropBox Inc., and Lyft Inc., all of which are cryptocurrency exchanges.

Last year, over 500 early-stage acquisitions in Africa, the majority of which were valued at less than $5 million each, raised a record $5 billion, with U.S.-based investors dominating the market. International financiers are becoming increasingly interested in the continent’s combination of a young population and rising internet and smartphone usage, which presents an opportunity for mobile and financial technology companies in particular.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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