Believer Company Closes $55m Series A Round
A newly-formed US-based video game developer Believer Entertainment has raised $55m in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Andreesen Horowitz, BITKRAFT Ventures, Riot Games, 1Up Ventures, Tornante, and others. The money will go towards creating a team of professionals for further development of the company’s first project.
The executive team of the company includes gaming industry veterans, who developed such titles as Destiny, PvZ, Words with Friends, League of Legends, and more:
- Michael Chow, CEO, former Riot Games Vice President, Newtoy co-founder;
- Steven Snow, CPO, one of Riot Games’ founding fathers;
- Landon McDowell, CTO (Microsoft, Riot Games, Linden Lab);
- Jeremy Vanhooser, CCO (Bungie, Electronic Arts);
- Tim Hsu, COO (Twitter, Riot Games);
- Shankar Gupta-Harrison (CMO, Riot Games, Dentsu X);
- Grace Park, Director of Operations (League of Legends: Wild Rift);
- Jeff Jew, VP of Design (League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra).
Believer is currently developing a next-generation open-world game, where players are free to make choices that influence the gameplay. The company strives to create a game where players will cooperate, not compete, focusing on “gaming systems that bring players together rather than pushing them apart”. The name of the title or any additional information are yet unknown.
Considering the fact that most of Believer executives previously worked at Riot Games, the team has a colossal experience in creating free-to-play GaaS games. Steven Snow, Chief Product Officer of Believer Entertainment, said: “Bringing free-to-play to North America and Europe with League of Legends really changed the landscape of how games as a service could work. It is our privilege to have the opportunity to help shape the future responsibly”. With that in mind, it can be assumed that the future title of the newly established studio might be a free-to-play GaaS as well.
Moreover, Michael D. Eisner, former CEO at The Walt Disney Company, and the founder of Tornante Company, stated that “Truly great content franchises are not built with a single media type — they need to resonate with their audience across games, film, television, collectibles, and real-world interactive experiences”, and that “Believer gets that and brings their vision across every platform”. It can be concluded that Believer executives are inspired by the success of the Arcane: League of Legends series, and might also create not only the game, but some kind of a spin-off show.
Moritz Baier-Lentz, the head of Lightspeed Gaming said: “Forget preconceived notions about building, selling, and marketing franchises atop $70 entry fees and strictly authored, immovable stories”. This confirms the point about a free-to-play game, where gamers create their own stories. Moritz Baier-Lentz also joins Believer’s Board of Directors.
Recently we covered the news on Lightspeed’s new gaming practice and its new subdivision Lightspeed Gaming. The company’s approach is “quality over quantity”, which means Lightspeed does care about studios it backs and helps them through the full lifecycle. Though the fund’s investment sectors vary from consumer to healthcare, it has a vast presence in the gaming sector in recent years. In Jul’22, Lightspeed announced a $7.5B fund to invest in Early and Growth-stage entrepreneurs around the globe.
In Nov’22, the fund led a $15m Seed funding round at Methodical Games, a US-based multiplayer action-adventure game developer, established in 2022. Seems only logical, that Methodical Games team has worked on such franchises as Fortnite, Apex Legends and Call of Duty, which are remarkable paragons of free-to-play GaaS games.
Lightspeed had a total of eleven investments in the year 2022, leading four of them, which got the fund to our Most Active VC Investors CY 2022. You can learn of other Lightspeed Venture Capital investments from the table below.