Venture

Pokémon Go Game Maker Niantic Raises $190M

If VCs were Pokémon, Niantic would know how to catch them.

The augmented reality gaming startup has raised a $190 million Series C from IVP, Samsung Electronics, and AXiomatic Gaming, according to TechCrunch. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Niantic was seeking a $200 million raise, putting the final raise within range of prior reporting. The final total brings the company’s funding to $415 million, according to Crunchbase records.

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The supergiant round of funding closes just as Niantic is about to bring Harry Potter, another beloved brand with massive market potential, to smartphones across the world. Presumably, the latest raise will help bring the game to life, and also hopefully offset some of the initial growing pains Pokémon Go experienced upon release. (It also can’t be cheap to license some of the world’s most valuable intellectual property.)

As Jason Rowley previously reported, nostalgia is certainly lucrative. It is estimated that Niantic has raked in $1.8 billion in revenue since its launch to July 2018.  For investors who are growing ever more concerned about business fundamentals, being able to pull in such revenue off of one game likely makes it easy to cut a check.

However, gaming companies have had a hard time holding onto their valuations, especially once they hit the public markets. For instance, Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, was valued at $1 billion when it publicly debuted in 2017. It’s now worth a much more modest $338 million.

As many other gaming companies are well aware of, gamers are fickle, and back-to-back hits are hard to come by. Hopefully augmented reality, paired with valuable intellectual property, is enough to keep Niantic out of the doldrums over the long haul.

Note: This post was updated to include investor names.

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