Veteran investor and Execution labs co-founder Jason Della Rocca lent us some insight into what investors look for in games studios, and how developers can maximise their chances in a competitive market.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us a little about the company and what you do?
Jason Della Rocca: I am the co-founder of Execution Labs, a hands-on early stage investor/accelerator to over 25 independent game studios from North America and Europe.
While I still spend time supporting those studios, I have a lot of fun advising other game studios on their business strategy and investment preparedness.
What do investors look out for when searching for games to invest in?
Depends if they are investing in projects or companies. Project-based investors, like a publisher, want to invest in a game that has high commercial potential since they are getting a revenue share.
Company-based investors - like a venture capitalist want to invest in a studio that has the potential for highly scalable growth, that will lead to an exit.
How has the market changed from an investment standpoint over the last year?
There's a lot more cash flowing into the game industry. And, there are more and more savvy investors. Still, scoring investment requires that you have a legit opportunity in front you.
What trends or platforms do you see dominating the market over the next 12 months?
Main shift is towards games-as-a-service: online, endless gameplay, highly streamable/watchable, multiplayer/social, and inherently community engaging. This is largely agnostic to specific tech or platforms.
What advice would you give to developers seeking investment?
You need to understand first and foremost what opportunity you are pitching. Despite the increase in available capital, no one is in the business of solving your lack of money problem.
That means understanding the different sources/timing for project funding versus company level funding.
What are some common pitfalls to look out for when seeking funding?
The main pitfall is seeking funding purely as a way to solve your lack of money problem. Always be pitching an opportunity.
Next major pitfall is not having an "ask" and knowing what you need. Another challenge is chasing the wrong investors at the wrong time - for example, don't chase growth VCs when you are doing a seed round.
Come to Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 on January 21st and 22nd and be part of our inaugural Investor Connector event. This for game developers actively looking for funding to connect on a one-to-one basis with investors during a dedicated three-hour event.