Kiro’o Games secures 240K USD – Africa’s first video game studio in the making

Congrats to the VC4Africa listed team at Kiro’o Games! They just secured 240K USD, after earlier finding one of their first mentors and investors via VC4Africa. Also see an earlier profile at the start of their campaign. We had a chance to catch up with Olivier Madiba, Kiro’o Games Founder & CEO. 

Congratulations on the new funding you’ve secured! How did this come together?

“Thank you. Regarding our funding, we opted for the equity crowdfunding technique that we adapted based on the reality of our environment. In the end we reached 84 shareholders and raised 240K USD. This was slightly above what we estimated from the start. In a few weeks we plan to start to raise more.”

We profiled you before in 2013 and 2014 on VC4Africa. What happened since and what new milestones did you reach in the mean time?

“A lot has happened! Let’s begin with the opening of the studio in December 2013 which marked the beginning of the realization of the game Aurion. In 2014, we achieved our first success with the feedback of the first videos of the game we published, which were very positive. In 2015, this success increased thanks to the game’s demo which received quite favourable responses from journalists and other video games experts who tested it, including a preview on the American video game website Polygon.

Besides this, Aurion received a sales authorisation on Steam (the largest video games’ sales platform in the world) via the Greenlight. This Greenlight reassured us that with Aurion we can possibly reach our main targets: America and Europe.

Now we are in partnership with a French videogame publisher Plug-In-Digital, they have a good team and they are very motivated about the distribution of the games in US and European markets.

In short, we can say that it’s thanks to all these results that were able to not only sell the remaining shares, but to also make our game credible, and position ourselves as a studio having considerable potential on the continent. Some call our game the  “best game designed in Africa” so far.

Why are you interesting to investors?

“Kiro’o Games is interesting for investors because many newspapers and other experts in the industry introduce us as the most technically advanced team on the continent. While Kiro’o Games is currently realising Aurion, which will be played on PC, almost all other African studios are realizing games for mobile devices (phones, tablets). The challenge of tackling the gaming market for PC and consoles with a unique product is a strong point to attract investors.

Besides this, we aim to create games here and sell them mainly outside the continent (America, Europe, etcetera). This presents significant margins of returns and will enable prospective investors have huge profits if sales are significant. In the long run, we intend to use that money to develop the industry on the continent.

Another interesting aspect for investors is transparency proposed and applied to the levels of spending. Each Kiro’o’s shareholder receives a monthly report detailing all inflows and outflows made. This allows them to know how and why their funds were used. This same traceability is seen in the media. We have never concealed our sums, despite the repercussion it may have.

Finally, the quality and technical recognition of the game received and acknowledged by influential people in the industry in Europe and the US helped to boost a favourable public opinion. And this would not have been the same without the “team of warriors” behind Kiro’o. The Kiro’o team is united, everyone is immersed in the project, which instils trust among investors. We believe that these are all the aspects that made our project credible, attractive and peculiar.”

Which milestones do you want to reach with the new funding? And what do you hope to achieve with your company in the long run?

“The realisation of Aurion is currently coming very close. The funds we raise we will be needed to manage the different charges related to the operations until its release. We recently went into partnership with a publisher of independent games, Plug-in-Digital with which we will manage aspects related to the game’s release and its sales.

We take this opportunity to announce that we are currently looking for partners for the production and distribution of the DVD of the game in Africa. This will allow us to lay the groundwork for the publishing that is one of our main ambitions.

Regarding our objectives in the long-term, we would like to complete the Aurion Saga (envisaged in three components) and we hope, as we have said earlier, to be the first game publishers on the continent. We envisage being able to organize the video game market and other by-products (Comic books, Cartoons, books, etc.). At mid terms we will embrace the mobile markets too of course.”

What is your suggestion to other entrepreneurs who wonder what VC4Africa can do for them?

“VC4Africa proved invaluable in terms of the viability and credibility of our business plan. The fact that we were chosen showed that our project was viable. The VC4Africa staff supported us from the start and introduced us to some potential investors. In the end we used our own specific funding technique, targeting more and smaller investors.

As advice to other entrepreneurs, I would recommend them to register on VC4Africa. The platform provided us with a lot of opportunities indirectly and we intend to get back for our future achievements. We greatly appreciate the VC4Africa team for all the support they give us.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“We are open to any partner that would like to assist us in the production and distribution of the DVD of the game Aurion, to use our product on the continent and to maximise returns on our savings. As we earlier said, our publisher is based in France and is more focused on the European and American market. It will be a great disappointment if Aurion is not sold in its continent and we hope to be informed about some business experts in distribution in the coming days. Moreover, since the closing of the fund-raising, we constantly receive emails for the purchase of shares. We envisage putting some shares up for sale by the end of May 2015. We ask potential purchasers to contact us. We would be delighted to welcome them to the large Kiro’o family.”

Interested investors should check out Kiro’o Games’ VC4Africa venture profile. Also see the company website.