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  • Writer's pictureGFR Fund

GFR Fund Celebrates a $53.5M Fund III to Back Top Gaming, Entertainment, and Consumer Tech Companies

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

GFR is thrilled to share the successful close of our third fund, GFR Fund III, at $53.5M. It’s a significant milestone for us as we continue to identify and nurture innovative companies set to redefine the landscape of digital entertainment and consumer tech.

With GFR Fund III, about a third of our investments will be channeled into the dynamic world of gaming content and technology companies. Another third will support emerging entertainment innovations, including those pioneering generative AI, with the remaining in consumer technology.

We’re seeking “emerging digitally-native communities”

At GFR, we have a proven track record of investing in companies with experienced founders who have founded more than one company. One example is 1337, which builds virtual influencer communities with Gen AI. GFR backed the founder’s previous company, Alter (acquired by Google), and joined the force again for his next venture.

Meanwhile, we’re also bullish about the advantages of first-time founders and have backed many companies with first-time entrepreneurs at the helm such as VRChat, Omeda Studios, and RTFKT, which was acquired by Nike. The fact that we don’t shy away from first-time entrepreneurs allows us to meet more hungry and ambitious innovators. We look for founders with an “emerging digitally-native community” mindset - in which they may have a product with a community around it, or even if they do not have a product yet, they may have successfully built a dedicated community base.

“With Fund III, we’re tripling down on our sweet spot: the future of gaming and entertainment,” said Teppei Tsutsui, General Partner of GFR Fund. “We believe that first-time founders with an emerging digital native communities mindset are the best-positioned to build the next generation of gaming and entertainment companies.”

Our commitment to our portfolio companies goes beyond capital investment. We often engage with early-stage startups to provide hands-on support. This approach includes leveraging our extensive network to connect these budding teams with top-tier talent. Moreover, our strong connections in the Asian market, with many of the industry's biggest gaming companies as our Limited Partners, set us apart as a unique gateway to Japan and Asia's thriving tech and entertainment scene.

We're going beyond gaming

At GFR, our forward-thinking approach and keen eye for investments transcend traditional boundaries. While a big portion of our investment dollars goes into gaming content and tech, our commitment extends toward disruptive technologies that are shaping the very fabric of the digital entertainment and media landscapes.

We actively seek out opportunities in sectors such as generative AI, streaming, creator economy, blockchain, and more. Some of our notable investments beyond traditional gaming include RTFKT, a producer of unique digital products; Wally, a subscription-based oral care; and DSTLRY, a new comic publisher.

By doing so, we recognize the transformative potential that lies at the intersection of fields within the digital entertainment and media landscapes. This also allows us to support companies and innovations with the potential to redefine how we interact with digital content and technology.

We're led by seasoned investors and a network of top operators

GFR Fund III is led by a team of experienced investors and leading LPs, with deep expertise in the gaming and entertainment industries. The team is led by general partners Teppei Tsutsui and Yasushi Komori.

Teppei Tsutsui previously worked in finance at companies like Morgan Stanley and has been a founder and a CFO himself. Transiting to venture capital has allowed him to take a more active role working with amazing founders to be part of their journey towards success.

“With my background in finance, I’ve always been behind the scenes. I’ve always been more of a coach than a player,” said Teppei. “So being a venture capitalist, sitting on boards and advising companies, is the perfect role for me.”

Before entering venture capital, Yasushi Komori had six years of experience in the gaming industry with both a product and technical background. He previously worked at GREE as a Senior Product Manager, driving a revenue of over $50M per year. He also has working experience as a server-side software developer.

“Over the years, I’ve gained a deep understanding of product and technology development. I’ve also come to realize the increasing significance of the community around a product,” said Yasushi. “That’s what I look for as a General Partner at GFR. I’m excited to work with founders who understand their communities and markets.”

GFR Fund has also rapidly grown into a community of experienced founders and operators around the firm, many of whom invested in Fund III.

"I've had the rare opportunity to work with GFR as both COO of RTFKT and as a Venture Partner. I've seen first-hand the support and industry knowledge the team provides to portfolio companies,” said Nikhil Gopalani, COO at RTFKT. “We're excited to continue to support consumer companies looking to create new experiences at the earliest of stages."

We're expanding our global footprint

While our roots are firmly anchored in the gaming, entertainment, and consumer tech sectors, our vision of those sectors extends globally. We’re driven by a deep commitment to fostering innovation and supporting groundbreaking startups not only in Japan and the U.S. but all around the world.

​​This global perspective is reflected not only in our investment themes but also in our portfolio companies. We’ve backed the Columbian gaming company as well as Vendease in Africa. We’re about to make our first investment in India as well.

As we continue to expand our investment vision and global footprint, we look forward to partnering with visionary entrepreneurs, creative minds, and trailblazing startups from diverse backgrounds and regions. With GFR Fund III, we’re excited to embark on this global adventure, supporting innovation that knows no bounds and shaping the digital world as we know it.

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