Comment & Opinion

Ludus Venture Studio’s İsmet Gökşen on the benefits of early-stage investment

“We can invest at a very early stage, close to ground zero if we see potential from co-founders and the business plan that they are pitching.”

Ludus Venture Studio’s İsmet Gökşen on the benefits of early-stage investment

İsmet Gökşen is the managing partner at Ludus Venture Studio, with several years of experience in corporate firms. After that, he shifted to adtech and worked several years at AdColony.

At the beginning of the year, with a vision to create more gaming success stories from Turkey, they founded Ludus.

Ludus is a venture studio which finds, invests and nurtures gaming startups, providing them with in-house expertise, strategic guidance, and funding. Their focus is early-stage gaming companies and their first fund size is $30 million.

Gökşen joins us for Investor Connector at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #8, a curated matchmaking event which pairs pre-selected developers who are seeking funding with investors.

We caught up with Gökşen ahead of the event for his thoughts on investment and to share his advice on pitching to investors. hat kind of companies/projects are you interested in?

İsmet Gökşen: Finding good talents and unlocking the potential is our strength. That's why we are focusing on early-stage start-ups, pre-seed, seed and Series-A at the latest. All of our team members inside Ludus have mobile gaming and ad-tech background and that's the vertical we are more confident to invest in.

Our primary focus is mobile gaming but we are also planning to spend some portion of our fund on other gaming verticals; such as PC, console, AR/VR, tech and platform.

What are the key advantages for founders when they raise investment from your company?

In a nutshell, four main things: having a gaming background, embracing the Venture studio model, agile way of working and flexibility on ticket sizes. First, we are not ‘finance’ people, we are coming from the heart of gaming and we speak the same language with them.

As we are a Venture Studio, we can invest at a very early stage, close to ground zero if we see potential from co-founders and the business plan that they are pitching. On top of it, we have a dedicated analyst team for each gaming category that co-founders can work together with and get support for the areas they may need.

Besides, we hate bureaucracy and agility is key to us, that’s why we are finalizing our whole investment process in less than a month. We know how dynamic the ecosystem is and we change and adapt our investment models and processes based on the market trend. In parallel to that, we don't have strict lines for the ticket sizes and can invest from $200 thousand up to $2 million.

Do you need a pitch deck, and if so, what information should a founder be sure to include to interest you enough to want to know more and have a meeting?

Yes we do require a pitch deck from the founders. Prior to the initial meeting, for our analysts to evaluate whether it is something that fits our portfolio or not, a max four slide deck that gives general information on the team and what they are doing or want to do would be enough.

If we see the fit, we arrange an initial pitch session. In that session, information like team structure, team vision, KPIs of the games (if they have any), market analysis, required investment, and valuation and deal structure are essential for us.

What do you expect to learn from a founder at the first meeting?

First of all we want to see their vision and want to see their long-term plans. The team is one of the most important aspects for us, so it would be best if all co-founders can join. We want to understand their product fully, any video, screenshot, or other details would be beneficial for us. Previous products from the portfolio can also be mentioned.

Could you give any advice for developers or teams for pitching over video calls?

Agenda and time management are vital. We are seeing poor management in many cases, it is important to respect the time and touch every necessary point within the slot. Additionally, we don't believe there is a deck that fits for all. So it is important to customize their story, shorten or extend the context based on the audience.

For example, if they are pitching to a gaming VC, there is no point to spend too much time on market analysis as probably partners know the market very well. So again, customization of your content is key.

A different aspect is how you present your content, most of the time, showing a video from a Zoom is not efficient, quality issues, pings, etc. So co-founders need to be sure that the content they are showing can be received properly from the audience.

Lastly, don't forget that gaming VC's are receiving a minimum two new pitches per day, so to create top of mind awareness, each pitch deck needs to give one strong message on their unique differentiation point.

Want to meet İsmet Gökşen at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #8?

You could meet Gökşen and many more investors online by signing up for Investor Connector at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #8. So if you’re seeking funding, sign up here.

You can also get involved as an investor and meet developers who are seeking funding for their studios and projects. Use this form to register.

Please note you can only sign up for the Investor Connector if you’re a registered attendee of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #8. Book your tickets now.