A specialist European VC focused on videogames and creative technology has launched its second fund.
Hiro Capital, founded by partners Luke Alvarez, Cherry Freeman and Sir Ian Livingstone, said the £250 million fund will be used to back emerging gaming and metaverse innovators.
Founded in 2018, Hiro’s name was inspired by Hiro Protagonist, a sword-wielding, metaverse-hacking samurai hero of Neil Stephenson’s Snowcrash, a novel about videogames, VR, digital assets and the neocortex.
Hiro has made 21 Series A and B investments across the UK, EU and USA from its first fund, including FitXR in London. It also co-led a $22m investor consortium alongside Blackrock and Westerly Winds, as part of a Series C round in London-based gamified FemTech star Elvie.
In January it became the lead sponsor in a new acquisition vehicle focused on the videogaming and metaverse sectors. The second ever SPAC to list in London, it raised £115m to target games and metaverse acquisitions in the $600m-$2.25 billion range.
“We have been believers in the metaverse since we created the fund in 2018. Our goal with Hiro is to bring founder-focused venture funding to games studios and metaverse technology creators,” said Alvarez.
“In 2022 we are at a pivotal moment in the very early phases of the metaverse, VR, AR and Web3 — these revolutions will take at least a decade and much of the creativity and technology innovation will start in games.
“As a team, we have the experience and networks to support the incredible talent that we find across Europe, the UK and beyond. Our new fund gives us more firepower to find and develop emerging stars and level them up to global scale.”
The three Hiro founding partners have co-founded startups generating billions of value in exits, have completed five public IPOs and scaled six games companies to greater than $500m apiece.
Alvarez founded Inspired Entertainment, a $600m EV Nasdaq-listed virtual sports games technology leader, is co-founder of Sknups, a Web3 games skin platform, and was a founding director of The Cloud Network, an early public access cloud platform backed by Accel and acquired by Sky.
Freeman co-founded the global community and eCommerce brand LoveCrafts and has spent 10 years working and angel investing in venture-backed tech companies including Elvie, New Voice Media and Mimecast, which is currently being acquired for $5.8bn .
Sir Ian is the co-founder and former chairman of Eidos plc, behind Lara Croft:Tomb Raider; co-founder of Games Workshop, behind Warhammer; and co-author of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. Knighted in the New Year, he was also an early investor and chairman of Playdemic, which was sold to EA for $1.4bn in 2021, Tonic Games, sold to Epic in 2021, and Sumo plc, sold to Tencent for $1.3bn in 2022.
Sir Ian is also the founder of the Livingstone Academy, a creative- and games- focused UK Academy school.