Leeds-based independent games studio and virtual reality (VR) developer XR Games has secured £5.9m ($7m) investment, in a round led by existing investors act media ventures, Praetura Ventures and Maven. This investment will support XR Games’ expansion as it moves to a brand-new studio in the centre of Leeds later this year. It will enable the business to grow its team as it invests in intellectual property (IP), the development of new games, and research into VR and AR technologies, following the success of its Zombieland: Headshot Fever launch in 2021.
XR Games initially raised £1m in a round led by act media ventures (formerly known as ACT Capital Partners), and subsequently raised £1.5m in a round led by Praetura Ventures alongside act media ventures in 2019. XR Games raised a further £1.5m in 2021 as part of an investment round led by Maven utilising both Maven managed VCT Funds and NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, (“Maven”) which is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (“NPIF”), with backing from act media ventures (formerly known as ACT Capital Partners).
Acquisitions and Growth
In less than a year, XR Games has tripled its headcount to employ more than 85 people and continues to grow. In March, XR Games acquired specialist VR game studio Fierce Kaiju to expand its games portfolio and scale its teams. The expansion of XR Games’ team has allowed the company to take on larger projects, and revenues at the business grew tenfold last year. XR Games works with major partners and internationally-renowned brands, including Sony Pictures VR and Rovio Entertainment, to create games for the rapidly-growing VR and AR market. The global industry saw sales of $21.8bn last year and is forecasted to grow to $84bn in 2028.
Reactions to the Investment
Bobby Thandi, XR Games Founder and CEO, said: “We are extremely proud of the fantastic work and success the team at XR Games continues to achieve. This latest investment will enable XR Games to continue to bring new innovations to the AR/VR sector over the next few years.”
Bobby continued, stating: “Our new Leeds studio will allow us to continue to grow our team, and the number of projects we’re working on. And with the hundreds of applications we are receiving for each job vacancy, it’s clear there’s a growing appetite for this space. We’ll continue to push XR Games to the forefront of the new virtual reality revolution we are seeing in the creative industries.”
Mark Lyons, director of investments at Praetura Ventures, said: “At Praetura Ventures, we pride ourselves on backing exceptional founders by providing our ‘more than money’ support to help them grow the best business they can. XR Games is a stellar example of a northern business turning heads on a global stage. Since our first investment in 2019, it’s so rewarding to see the team’s continuous expansion in terms of both staff and development on their projects.”
Adam Schoff, CEO and founder of act media ventures, commented: “As a very early investor in XR Games, we have been witness to the amazing growth of the company. We are excited to participate in this latest investment round and look forward to the exciting journey ahead.”
Gavin Bell, investment director at Maven, said: “The team at XR Games has performed exceptionally since our original investment last year. It’s great to see them expand their headquarters in the North and to continue to add talented people to the team. We’re very excited for what the future holds for XR Games.”
XR Games was advised by Park Place Corporate finance with legal advice provided by Lewis Silkin, Gateley Legal and TLT.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.