by Derek Major
Rapper Nas is putting the big bucks behind his latest gaming publisher investment and partnered with mega-tech company Google to get the ball rolling. (Image: Screenshot)
Rapper Nasir’ Nas’ Jones has teamed with the tech giant Google and others to raise $20 million in financial backing for South African gaming company Carry1st.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that League of Legends developer Riot Games and American venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz were also included in the funding effort. All earnings will be used to expand Carry1st’s product and engineering teams and its content portfolio to grow its users.
“We’re excited to partner with this world-class group of investors who, in addition to capital, bring expertise across gaming, fintech, and web3,” Cordel Robbin-Coker, co-founder and CEO of Carry1st, said according to BET. “In 2021, we launched multiple games and digital commerce solutions, achieving really strong growth. Together we can accelerate this growth and achieve our goal of becoming the leading consumer internet company in the region.”Games released by Carry1st include SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off, Mine Rescue, Match League, and Football Clash. The company currently employs a team of 37 people across 18 countries.Nas has started several business ventures outside of music, including Queensbridge Venture Partners, and has invested in Lyft, Robinhood, and PillPack.“When I heard the word ‘investment’ in school, I was hooked,” Nas told FastCompany in 2014. “You invest your time, you can invest money, and it was just a matter of time before it all fell into place for me. That’s one of the things that I thought a lot about as a young kid—the guys behind the scenes who make things happen, help build people up, make dreams come true.”According to THR, a 2021 report from Carry1st predicted that the number of games in sub-Saharan Africa would increase by 275% over the next decade, which could mean an almost 800% increase in revenue.“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Africa-headquartered company in Carry1st, a next-generation mobile games and fintech platform. We see immense opportunity for the company to mirror outstanding successes we’ve seen in markets like India, China, and Southeast Asia,” Andreesen Horowitz partner David Haber told THR.