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SA startup Carry1st raises $2.5m seed round


Cape Town based startup Carry1st, which is looking to use games to build what could be Africa’s first super app, has raised seed round of $2.5 million led by Johannesburg based venture capital (VC) fund CRE Venture Capital.

Perivoli Innovations, Chandaria Capital, Lateral Capital and Transsion’s Future Hub, Kam Kronenberg III, among others, also participated in the round.

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The startup was founded in 2018 by American Lucy Hoffman (formerly Parry) and Sierra Leonean Cordel Robbin-Coker (pictured above, left and centre).

Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu (pictured above, right), who serves as lead engineer and who joined in January last year, is now also listed as a co-founder.

The latest seed round brings to $4m the total that Carry1st has raised since its inception in 2018

The company has offices in Cape Town, New York and Lagos.

$4m raised since inception

The latest round brings its total capital raised since inception to $4-million.

In December last year, Robbin-Coker told Ventureburn that Carry1st had raised about $2-million by then from prominent angel investors in Africa and the US whom he didn’t name (see this story).

The startup said in a statement released today that the investment will go to recruiting new hires, investing in platform technology, and publishing new content.

Pardon Makumbe, managing partner at CRE, and Henry Lowenfels, chief product officer of One Team Partners, will join the startup’s board.

International studios plan

Since it launched the app last year, the startup claims to have reached over 1.5 million users across the region. Carry1st Trivia was ranked the number one free-to-play Android game in Nigeria and Kenya and was named the Best Media & Entertainment Solution for 2019.

The company plans to partner with international studios to launch multiple games in 2020 and scale its audience to over a million monthly active users.

Said Robbin-Coker in the same statement: “Social gaming is the largest and fastest-growing form of mobile media, grossing more than three times all other app categories combined. Our mission is to bring this world of interactive content to Africa and likewise to connect Africa to the world.”

“Our belief is that building a local publisher, with differentiated tech and operating capabilities across marketing, distribution, and monetisation is the way to be this bridge,” he said.

Read more: SA startup Carry1st out to create Africa’s first ‘super app’ with $2m war chest

Featured image: Carry1st founders Lucy Hoffman, Cordel Robbin-Coker and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu (Supplied)

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