JOHANNESBURG – 03 July 2023 – Merge, a leading platform connecting entrepreneurs with investors, is proud to announce the successful facilitation of a $700K investment deal for Skrmiish, an innovative gaming startup. The investment came from two renowned investors – Allan Gray E Squared Ventures (AGEV) and Blockchain Founders Fund (Singapore), marking a milestone in Merge’s maturation.
“We are thrilled about the deal and its impact on Skrmiish’s growth trajectory. Our technology is developed to connect founders with the right investors, and we are proud to see it pay off for Skrmiish,” said Merge founders Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate.
Skrmiish Founder Chris Heaton praises Merge for demonstrating a relentless approach to connecting a startup to the right investors and for its integral role in securing the investment. “From associates in my network to registering on the Merge, I have connected with some incredible people and have unlocked the investment required to build Skrmiish into a global success,” said Heaton. “Venture Capitalist firms connected by Merge have referred further VCs onto the Skrmiish investment opportunity, which has closed further funding.”
The $700k investment deal was secured within eight months, beginning with an investment from Blockchain Founders Fund in September 2022 and then in April 2023 from AGEV. It represents the largest deal Merge has facilitated to date, both in terms of the amount raised and the calibre of all concerned parties. “Having blue-chip VC companies involved showcases the potential of Skrmiish and highlights Merge’s global reach. “We are very proud to have raised $700k out of the £1.5m contributed thus far in Skrmiish’s Seed Round. Once they conclude their funding round, it may be one of the largest seed investments of a gaming company on the continent,” Merge revealed.
Throughout the process, Merge helped boost investor sentiment by navigating bureaucratic obstacles often associated with such transactions, including regulations, legal compliance, and financial and operational documentation.
This deal is particularly significant in the global gaming market, which continues to grow at a double-digit rate YoY (20%), boasting over 2.7bn gamers globally and an estimated revenue of $200bn in 2022. Skrmiish’s solution appeals directly to this massive, engaged audience, promising to disrupt the billion-dollar gaming industry.
“Skrmiish stands out with its unique value proposition, experienced leadership team, and innovative use of technology, positioning it as a promising startup in the booming gaming industry,” the Merge team stated. Further, the brand solves a real-world problem: until recently, the opportunity to earn while playing the games was limited exclusively to the pros and ‘million-dollar-streamers’. Skrmiish identified a market gap, enabling gamers to earn cash and choose from hundreds of personalised and on-demand challenges to complete in their next match.
The investment deal, facilitated by Merge and benefiting Skrmiish, carries significant implications for the South African startup ecosystem. It demonstrates that South African startups can secure substantial backing from international investors, further positioning the country as a leading contender for startup investment in Africa. Given the exponential growth of the African VC investment landscape in the past three years, South Africa continues to be at the forefront of this burgeoning sector on the continent.
Despite the challenging economic climate in South Africa, especially in the context of raising startup funding, Skrmiish’s success in obtaining $700k through Merge sends a powerful message to other founders in the region. This achievement underscores the fact that with the right business model, robust network, strategic reach, and unwavering perseverance, significant milestones can be reached. The impact of this deal is expected to ignite a new wave of entrepreneurial ambition, reaffirming the potential for African startups to flourish and thrive.
Interestingly, the majority of South African VCs did not show initial interest in the deal, contrasting sharply with the high level of engagement and interest from international VCs. This discrepancy underlines the importance for South African startups to broaden their horizons when seeking capital, extending their search beyond domestic borders. The success of this deal endorses the notion that South African startups need to capitalise on the increasing global interest in the African market.
Merge creates an equal playing field for all startups to access investors locally and internationally, drastically streamlining the discovery process for both startups and investors. In recent times Africa has demonstrated its ability to produce Unicorns. The Merge team added, “If Skrmiish keeps on track with its current path, we do not doubt it will reach this elusive status.”
The Merge team concludes, “This deal places South Africa firmly at the forefront of tech-driven startups on the continent and inspires others to follow suit. We are excited about the future of Skrmiish and can’t wait to see what they achieve next.”