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Global summit round is taking its seed investment and game studio accelerator program to Sweden in November.
GTR is a subsidiary of South Korea’s GXC. For over seven years, GTR has run an accelerator for gaming companies, and it expanded to a seed investment program this year. Every year it conducts an event to highlight its startups and it travels to a new country or even continent every year, said Pontus Mahler, vice
president of business development at Global Top Round, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We’re finding new places for our publishers and investors to go. We just like to move,” Mahler says.
Mahler, who is Swedish, has lived in Asia for almost a decade and he felt it was time to do an event there. And the Swedish government was receptive, even though Sweden already has a very successful gambling business. I guess you can never have enough game studios.
This year, GTR partnered with the Swedish government to introduce 10 game developers into its accelerator program. And the conference will be held in Luleå, Sweden, on November 9-10.
The annual conference brings together studios, publishers, investors and influencers from across the gaming industry to network at one event. At the end of this invitational conference, GTR will select 10 of the most promising studios to be part of its annual accelerator program.
The accelerator program, which has gained recognition in the gaming industry in recent years, will grant funding from $40,000 to the 10 selected studios. In addition to the funding, the program will support the games and their business development, make introductions to some of the biggest global publishers and more.
“Our money is seen more as skin in the game rather than funding,” Mahler said. “So if companies are looking for someone who can fund their entire prototype with their own money, it’s definitely not going to be us alone. But if you’re looking for someone who can help you find that extra money, then that’s something we do. “
The selected studios can also receive additional investment from GTR’s newly launched seed program, which invests between $150,000 to $300,000 for selected projects.
“Global Top Round is more than just investing in games. We’re building an ecosystem or partners that are shaping the future of video game development,” said Mahler. “Our program is proof that not every project needs to be a triple-A title. We can help build a game’s success with the right tools and network. This year we will bring the smartest studios to Sweden to put their games on the main stage and give them the support they need.”
Last year’s GTR conference partnered with Gamescom Asia to host the event in Singapore (where our previous contributor Giancarlo Valdes attended). The conference featured 22 studios and hosted 415 attendees, including several government officials, industry-leading publishers, and investors and business experts. It was challenging, given that covid-19 made travel very difficult.
During the downturn, Mahler said more publishers and investors than ever have asked to work with GTR.
“It depends on the quality of our games,” he said. – Right now it’s going really well. We will have many projects underway next year.”
Still, it’s not easy. Mahler said, “I’m currently raising two rounds for some of our studios and working on an acquisition, and it’s going much slower than before.”
The accelerator program has invested in more than 50 gaming companies in 32 countries over the past two years that have achieved more than $24 million in funding. To apply, visit this link. Studios must have a demo to show as part of the application, Mahler said.
“We’re kind of like a scale-up company and partner, not a paper pitch program,” he said. “This year we had access to over 450 studios. We’re in the middle of due diligence right now.”
The company sees roughly 3,000 pitches per year. The company will soon present its top 20 or 25 studios in the competition. Global Top Round works with a worldwide network of publishers (Ubisoft, 505 Games, Focus Entertainment, Gamigo, NetEase, Curve Games, Deep Silver among others) and investors (NCsoft, Korea Investment Partners, Line Games, among others).
At the moment, the company is not focusing on blockchain gaming, augmented reality or virtual reality. It does not invest in China because of challenges with the financial system. GTR has recently invested in studios in Germany, South Korea and Latin America as well as Brazil.
GTR and its parent company are looking at opening an M&A and major financing advisory unit as they work to build a new pillar of their program. And that is hiring people to fill different roles.
“This will be the fourth branch of the company,” he said. “We will support companies that want to be acquired. There is no shortage of candidates there.”
I asked why GTR didn’t invest in blockchain games.
“I’m very fascinated by blockchain technology. But when it comes to games, the blockchain games we’ve seen so far 99% of the time are just people taking a bad project or a low-end game and slapping blockchain on it and collecting 10 times the money than an indie would. So they’re basically using the Web3 and the blockchain angle to raise 10 times more money. So that’s mostly why we’re just getting so many bad pitches.”
Over time, that may change. But that’s not a good way for the company to spend its time or invest its money at the moment. There are also some very narrow genres, like rogue-like games.
When it comes to pitches that work, it has to do with innovation and creating something that people want to buy.
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