Games London welcomed four top US games investors to the capital earlier this month for a week's introduction to the UK games sector; full of tours of world-leading games studios and introductions to some of London's top development talent.
Our four US investors, with members of Games London, Ukie and Film London who accompanied them on the tour.
The four delegates were:
- LK Shelley, Managing Partner at Affiniti Ventures
- Amit Pradhan, Director of JetSynthesys and General Partner at Jet Ventures
- Shaun Ahora, Managing Director of Make in LA
- Rob Vickery, Co-Founder of Stage Venture Partners
Capitalising on UK talent
To showcase a diverse range of the best of what the capital's games scene has to offer, the investors were given tours of London-based games studios including Dream Reality Interactive, Flavourworks, NaturalMotion Games, The Secret Police and Spirit AI.
Rob Vickery championed London development talent, saying: "The talent's really good. The talent here is better than I see in Southern California from a coding perspective."
Amit Pradhan added that "the pedigree of the people we've met has been phenomenal. They've worked on some serious projects."
The delegates were given insight into what galvanises the strength of the UK games scene, including schooling on the UK’s generous Video Games Tax relief, and presentations from both Ukie and Film London, partners of the Games London programme.
LK Shelley noted that there was a bigger convergence in the screen sectors in the UK than the US, saying, "I feel like the games developers’ backgrounds are more diverse; they come from creative industries like film, and it's exciting to see the convergence between games, film and other art forms. That type of creativity makes the output much more interesting, entertaining and engaging than a purely technical background."
The investors also met with Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal, where they discussed investment opportunities in games in the UK, how #LondonIsOpen and the future skills investment necessary to support our growing creative tech scene.
The investors were then taken down to Brighton for the Develop Conference, where they were free to check out the exhibiting games and interactive entertainment before attending the Develop Awards as VIP guests of Games London.
The Brighton leg of the familiarisation trip then involved pitches from UK games companies including A Brave Plan Ltd, Antstream, Feature Games and Project M. The investors were excited by the quality of the projects and the insight the experience gave them into the ways that games are made in the UK, whether developed in individual, co-working or larger-scale spaces.
Finally, on the last afternoon of Develop Ukie hosted an investor meet and greet session at the Unity office in association with RIFT, where the US investors joined a network of international investors from the UK and India, as well as publishers and major platform holders such as Sony and Oculus.
The session allowed developers to demo their games to companies such as Playstack, Stage Ventures and London Venture Partners and our US guests to network with more UK-wide games developers. Here, a wide range of funding options were discussed, as well as further exploration of the Video Games Tax Relief.
Of the attendees, Chris Payne, said, "the event was small and focused – Ukie did a great job hosting, everyone was crystal clear about what they were looking for, and there was a great buzz of ideas being shared. It was my last event of this year’s Develop Conference and I left on a high with some great leads to follow up."
"We've had an amazing time," said Amit Pradhan. "We've been surprised and amazed at the cost structures here in London, aside from the tax incentives - even the base cost is much less than we would pay in California."
The fantastic news is that each US delegate on the familiarisation trip had identified potential investment opportunities by the time they left, and they headed back to the States with a strong idea of the UK's unique creative offering, and understanding of the supportive games ecosystem that makes the UK the best place in the world for games development.