Home » This Sierra Leone-born entrepreneur is disrupting the African gaming market; his startup has raised over $56 million

This Sierra Leone-born entrepreneur is disrupting the African gaming market; his startup has raised over $56 million

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Cordel Robbin-Coker

Sierra Leone-born entrepreneur Cordel Robbin-Coker is a prominent figure in the African tech space. He is revolutionizing the African gaming market by providing a much-needed platform for African game developers to showcase their craft with pride.

From his humble beginnings in the United States to launching a successful gaming startup in Africa, the journey of the Sierra Leone-born entrepreneur, who grew up in the United States and spent a decade in high finance with The Carlyle Group and Morgan Stanley across the United States, Europe, and Africa, is an inspiring tale of determination and ambition. 

During Cordel Robbin-Coker’s time as vice president of the Sub-Saharan Africa Fund at the Carlyle Group, a global investment firm with $373 billion of assets under management, he played a key role in forming and deploying the first dedicated Africa private equity fund worth $700 million by a major global firm.

After leaving his position at the fund in July 2018, the Sierra Leone-born entrepreneur teamed up with Lucy Hoffman and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu in Cape Town, South Africa, to launch Carry1st, with the goal of becoming Africa’s leading mobile games publisher and digital commerce platform.

Under his leadership, Carry1st has become a leading mobile game publisher catering to the first generation of African smartphone users. The gaming startup has amassed over 1.5 million users in the region and experienced significant revenue growth over the past year, catching the eye of investors.

In its latest funding round, led by BITKRAFT Ventures and featuring participation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), TTV Capital, and Alumni Ventures, Carry1st secured an impressive $27 million.

Since its establishment in 2018, Carry1st has raised a total of $56.5 million from investors, and its latest round of funding is being used to strengthen its position in the industry by continuing to develop and improve African-made games, as well as expand its monetization-as-a-service solution, Pay1st, and create, license, and publish new games.

Last week, Carry1st acquired Gebeta, an award-winning mobile board game, from Qene Games, an Ethiopian entrepreneur Dawit Abraham’s game development studio. The transaction leverages Dawit Abraham’s and Cordel Robbin-strong Coker’s business connections.

According to the terms of the agreement, Qene Games will maintain its partnership with Carry1st while playing a smaller role in Gebeta’s growth and progression. They will, however, be in charge of publishing the game in Ethiopia, its original market.

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