Lightspeed, a leading venture capital firm with more than $18 billion under management in more than 500 investments in the US, Europe and Asia, including Epic Games, Kongregate and Tripledot Studios, has announced its decision to accelerate its gaming practice with a major hiring, which will lead efforts to fund game studios, platforms and technologies.
Moritz Baier-Lentz, who was featured in TBEN’ Finance 30 Under 30 in 2016, joins Lightspeed from BITKRAFT Ventures and will lead the organization’s consumer team as a partner, aiming to boost its 15-year investment history in the gaming sector . Although Lightspeed has invested over $300 million in more than 30 gaming deals since 2006, it has never had a dedicated gaming practice to this day.
Baier-Lentz grew up in rural Germany and has been a gamer all his life. His first success in the industry came 20 years ago when he became the number one player in the world in Blizzard’s Diablo II in 2003. By trading weapons and armor in the game, he earned enough money to fund his tuition at Stanford Business School.
Baier-Lentz went on to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs, where he helped build and lead the company’s global gaming practice, advising on deals across PC, console and mobile platforms with Microsoft, Google, Meta , Activision, Meta and Electronic. arts. He also advised on Dell’s $67 billion purchase of EMC, and IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat.
In 2020, Baier-Lentz, as a partner and member of the management team at BITKRAFT Ventures, helped it become one of the world’s most active gaming venture capital firms, leading a number of large deals, including a $15 million Series A for Lightforge Games in March 2022. He also became a founding member and author of the World Economic Forum’s Metaverse Initiative, which aims to “define the parameters of an economically viable, interoperable, secure, and inclusive metaverse.”
Lightspeed hopes to leverage Baier-Lentz’s expertise with team members in the organization’s 12 offices around the world to invest its latest $7 billion early and late stage funds in early and late stage entrepreneurs. growth phase, building its gaming portfolio across five overarching themes:
- Game studios “wanting to become cross-media IP powerhouses”;
- Gaming platforms hoping to become social networks (e.g. the next Discord);
- Interactive and immersive technologies that shape 3D UX, etc. (e.g. a company in the form of Unity or NVIDIA);
- Extended realities such as VR and AR; and
- Web3 and gaming as experiences.
Additionally, the company has announced plans to launch a gaming-specific website for “Lightspeed Gaming” sometime in late Q1 2023.
Speaking of his new role, Baier-Lentz says, “We are thrilled to offer extraordinary gaming entrepreneurs a new funding option that combines authentic industry expertise from our own time as professional gamers and gaming company founders; a global platform that can support companies throughout their lifecycle with capital, talent, publishing and network access; and a founder-first culture.
“In an industry that glorifies individual stars and their egos, we believe true partnerships yield more repeat success.”