A new fund to support African businesses has been established by Sony Group through its ventures arm - titled the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa (SIF: AF) - with $10 million allocated to go to startups in film, music and, of course, gaming.
This follows the initial closing of the Sony Innovation Fund 3 which backed emerging tech businesses, investing $215 million in total.
Entertainment is the underdog
While funding for African companies is predominantly given to fintech - comprising nearly half of all venture capital last year on the continent - Sony’s fund is instead focusing on entertainment.
The Sub-Saharan African games market saw an 8.7% year-on-year revenue rise in 2022, demonstrating the appetite for video games and thus the advantages further funding might bring. With mobile gaming leading the charge when it comes to growth rate, some believe Africa to be "the next frontier".
Sony Ventures’ fund will focus on seed rounds and early-stage investments, but will also offer support with further investments in its portfolio enterprises. In the past, support has meant collaboration opportunities for roughly 40% of its portfolio companies who have strategically partnered with Sony at some point. There is a hint that this will also apply to companies benefiting from the new African fund.
"The entertainment field has been a key area of focus for Sony Innovation Fund since the beginning and will continue to be. Africa, in particular, has a vibrant community of creators and entrepreneurs looking to invent new ways to enhance entertainment experiences for audiences and that propelled Sony to establish SIF: AF," said Sony Ventures CEO Gen Tsuchikawa.
"Since Sony’s entertainment business group is exploring and supporting young talented creators in Africa, this fund will also try to support those creators and the growth of entertainment business in Africa in various ways such as providing technologies, collaborating with creators, intellectual property, and contents, marketing support, and others which Sony can contribute."
Sony Group Corporation executive vice president Toshimoto Mitomo added: "Sony Group has been fostering next-generation technologies and startups and promoting open innovation through its corporate venture capital activities. Through the activities of Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, we hope to accelerate the growth of the African entertainment industry and contribute to the progress and development of the region by providing opportunities for collaboration with the entertainment businesses within the Group."
Sony Ventures has surpassed 100 investments total across robotics, AI, entertainment and other sectors.
Last month, Spectarium raised €5 million via its seed round to bolster personalised AI RPG Myths.