Second Dinner Studios has raised $100m
This article is based on our Weekly News Digest #2 from 18.12.2023. If you want to receive such analyses first, subscribe to our weekly newsletter. There, we analyze the most significant deals, elaborating on the financials and strategy behind them, while also covering the smaller transactions of the week.
In 2019, a year after it was founded, the company raised $30m in a funding round from Chinese gaming giant NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES), which remains one of the studio’s shareholders. Along with the funding, Second Dinner Studios made a deal with Marvel.
This deal paved the path to Second Dinner’s hit, a collectible card game Marvel Snap for mobile and PC. According to the press release, launched in Oct’22, Marvel Snap has already brought over $200m in Revenues and 22 million downloads.
If we look at data.ai, it can be seen the game attracted players almost immediately after its launch, though its peak quickly decreased from ~8 million downloads to ~3 million after four months and then plateaued at around 1 million downloads a month in Q2’23. The Revenue, however, didn’t show such a drastic decline: from $22m in Dec’23 to a stable ~$11m a month starting from Q2’23. All this indicates that the game managed to find its core audience that keeps playing (and spending) for a long time. In Dec’23, Marvel Snap’s Revenue per download ratio was 15.4x, another proof of the game’s successful monetization.
Source: Data.ai. Marvel Snap Downloads (left) and Revenue (right)
The title is being published globally by Nuverse, a Chinese entertainment giant Bytedance gaming subsidiary. Recently, it’s been confirmed that the TikTok owner plans to sell Nuverse, with Tencent (SEHK: 700) among its potential buyers.
Although the press release date is Jan’24, the deal occurred in Q3’23. Pitchbook was the first to announce the deal. Many market reports, including our Global Gaming Deals Activity Report Q1-Q3’23, reflected the news.
The new round of Second Dinner makes the company one of the few receiving significant Late-stage investments lately. For instance, in 2023, only Candivore and VSPN managed to raise $100m and $265m, respectively, with every other deal being smaller.
The story of the Late-stage investment decline can be partially explained by ascending interest rates, a weaker exit environment, lower valuations compared to those of 2021-2022 and a focus on financials and internal optimization on the investor side.
So, how do you reach success during these challenging times? For Second Dinner it is a combination of the experienced founding team, accomplished investor and publisher, and a well-known franchise. But the main thing is that it is a great game that was able to innovate and build on the best practices of the genre. To understand how the game reached this success and learn more about its secret sauce, we highly recommend you read the detailed analysis written by our friends from Deconstructor of Fun.