Seed funding in gaming is still active during "VC Winter" with David Gardner Co-Founder of LVP

Feb 20, 2024

In this episode of Story Mode by Sanlo, our host Olya Caliujnaia talks with London Venture Partners (LVP) Co-Founder and Managing Partner, David Gardner. David sheds light on the current state of gaming investment and why earlier funding rounds like Pre-Seed and Seed remain active. He also touches on his start in gaming, the drivers of success that he has seen across many founders and executives, and what LVP is tracking for future investments.

About David Gardner
David is an industry veteran with 30 years of experience in gaming. He got his first job in gaming at the young age of 17 at EA, where he spent over 25 years. At EA where he held various roles, eventually being a senior leader in their world-wide Studio organization as Studio COO. In 2008, he joined Atari as their CEO, completing a childhood dream of running the most famous name in computer games. There he transitioned their business into digital content and MMO development, including the acquisition of Cryptic Studios. In 2010 he founded LVP and has since invested in amazing companies like Unity, Natural Motion, Singularity6, and Supercell.

In this episode you’ll learn:

01:02 - About some exciting news from LVP including a recent investment with Look North World, an upcoming investment in gaming, and the closing of their fourth fund for LVP.

02:12 - About David’s start in gaming at the young age of 17 years old and how he landed his first role at EA. And how he transitioned into CEO at Atari.

06:21- David’s application of his learnings from 27+ years as a gaming operator/executive to his work as a gaming VC investor and what his team brings to the table for their portfolio companies.

08:24 - Why David started LVP and the two instances that inspired him to jump headfirst into VC.

09:48 - All about LVP and an overview on their investment philosophy including phase, check size, and more.

12:02 - How LVP thinks about thesis investing and opportunistic investing and how they balance both.

13:38 - Tactical advice from David regarding how founders can get in front of VCs to get a meeting and the role of resilience, problem-solving and creativity.

15:04 - About the current state of VC investment in gaming and why seed round funding still remains active in the “VC winter” and what founders need to do to succeed in later rounds.

18:26 - What LVP and other VCs look for in gaming companies to participate in a Series A or Series B round.

19:37 - What LVP is looking for in pre-seed and seed rounds, and the importance of team and the ability to learn fast. And a recent example of why they invested in a seed round.

22:45 - About the founder habits and traits that David has seen over the years in successful gaming startup teams.

25:17 - David’s POV on AI in gaming and other areas that LVP is tracking now and into the future.

30:26 - How David compares the current industry climate compared to other phases in the past and the difference between today’s data and sentiment.

32:48 - What David is most excited about for the future of gaming.