New Fund Seeks Founders and Technologies in VR/AR, eSports, Live Streaming, AI and Blockchain
GFR Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund, today announced it has raised $20 million to launch its second fund, GFR Fund II, with a focus on technology startups disrupting the digital entertainment sector. GFR Fund is backed by multiple strategic investors from Asia and is an affiliate of leading mobile gaming company GREE, headquartered in Japan. GFR Fund offers its portfolio global business opportunities in the Asian market combined with deep connections in Silicon Valley and decades of experience in digital media.
“We are looking beyond traditional game developers to invest in disruptive entertainment technologies,” said Teppei Tsutsui, Managing Partner of GFR Fund. “There is a new wave of founders and creators who are creatively combining existing technologies to offer new, scalable experiences, and that is very exciting. We have seen this already in products like Discord, and the market is ready for more new innovations.”
Some of GFR Fund’s notable investments to date have blended emerging technologies in creative ways to produce new opportunities in entertainment. For example, Sliver.tv combined blockchain and live streaming content to create the next generation eSports entertainment platform for top games like “Fortnite,” “League of Legends,” “CSGO,” and more.
The first two investments under GFR Fund II are in the eSports category.
Santa Monica-based Fan.AI is the leading audience monetization platform for sports and esports. The platform increases franchise and sponsorship revenues by making audience data actionable. GFR has invested in FanAI’s latest multi-million dollar round that will be announced in the next two months.
“GFR Fund has a deep understanding of gaming and esports in both Asia and U.S. markets, that combined with their focus on entertainment makes GFR a great partner as we expand into new verticals,” said Johannes Waldstein, founder and CEO of Fan.AI. “We will use the investment to expand our team and scale our business from an esports-focused SaaS model to a platform that encompasses sports and entertainment.”
Los Angeles-based ProGuides is a freemium eSports platform for gamers to learn, connect, and play together. “We enjoy working with GFR Fund and the guidance they provide when navigating Japanese video game publishers is extremely valuable to our business,” said Sam Wang, CEO of ProGuides. “GFR invested in our pre-seed stage round, which will be used to expand our platform to include more games and influencers.”
Virtual Beings at Game Developers Conference
GFR Fund is bringing together industry experts from the U.S. and Asia, investors and entrepreneurs to share their views on what Virtual Beings bring to entertainment. This invite only event will take place on March 21st in San Francisco, during the Game Developers Conference. Contact GFR Fund for details.
About GFR Fund
The GFR Fund is a venture capital fund that works with strategic investors to give early-stage technology companies the opportunity to accelerate growth in the digital entertainment sector. GFR Fund is an affiliate of GREE, Inc., a global leader in mobile gaming industry. To date, the GFR Fund has invested in more than 30 companies, including VRChat, SPACES, Sliver.tv, Littlstar, Insidemaps, YBVR, Experiment 7, TheWaveVR, Sturfee, InsiteVR, Streem, DottyAR and Torch3D. For more information visit www.gfrfund.com.
SOURCE GFR Fund