Barcelona-based gaming video platform Gamestry has snatched up $5 million in seed funding, led by Goodwater Capital, Target Global and Kibo Ventures -- turning investors' heads with a 175x growth rate over the past 12 months.
While the (for now) Spanish-language gaming video platform launched a few years back, in 2018, last year the founders decided to shift away from an initial focus on curating purely learning content around gaming -- allowing creators to upload and share entertainment-focused game videos, too.
The switch looks to have paid off as a growth tactic. Gamestry says it now has 4 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 2,000 active creators in Spain and Latin America (its main markets so far) -- and is gunning to hit 20 million MAUs by the end of the year.
While Twitch continues to dominate the market for livestreaming games -- catering to the esports boom -- Gamestry, which says it's focused on "non-live video content," reckons there's a gap for a dedicated on-demand video platform that better supports game-focused video creators and provides game fans with a more streamlined discovery experience than catch-all user-generated content giants like YouTube.
For game-video creators, it's dangling the carrot of a better revenue share than other UGC video platforms -- talking about having "a fair ads revenue share model." and a plan to add more revenue streams for creators "soon." It also pledges "full transparency on how the monetization structure works," and a focus on supporting creators if they have technical issues.
So, basically, the sorts of issues creators have often complained that YouTube fails them on.
For viewers, the pitch is a one-stop shop for finding and watching videos about games and connecting with others with the same passion (gaming chat) -- so the platform structures content around individual game titles.
The startup also claims to present viewers with better info about a video to help them decide whether to click on it (aka, tools to help them find "quality instead of clickbait"), beyond basics like title, thumbnail and videos. (Albeit to my admittedly unseasoned eye for assessing the calibre of game-video content, there is no shortage of clickbaity-looking stuff on Gamestry. But I am definitely not the target audience here.). So the viewer pitch also sounds like another little dig at YouTube.
"Despite being the de facto place for uploading content, YouTube is a generic platform that is not optimized for gaming and therefore doesn’t cater to the needs of gaming creators," argue founders -- brothers Alejo and Guillermo Torrens -- adding: "Vertical or specialized platforms emerge whenever markets become large enough that current platforms can’t serve their users’ needs and we believe that’s exactly what’s happening today."
Target Global's Lina Chong led the international fund's investment in Gamestry. Asked what piqued her interest here, she flagged the recent growth spurt and the platform having onboarded scores of highly engaged game-content creators in short order.
"The problem Gamestry is addressing is that the vast majority of creators don't make much money on those platforms because they are ads/eyeball-driven businesses," she told TechCrunch. "Gamestry provides a space where creators, despite audience size, can find new ways to engage with their audience and make a living. This problem among creators is so big that Gamestry now has over 2,000 highly engaged creators uploading multiple content pieces and millions of their viewers on the platform every month."
It will surely surprise no one to learn that the typical Gamestry user is a male, aged between 18 and 24.
The startup also told us the "most trending" games on its platform are Minecraft, Free Fire and Fortnite, adding that "IRL content is also very successful."
As well as YouTube Gaming, other platforms competing for similar game-mad eyeballs include Facebook Gaming and Booyah.