Lightspeed, a leading venture capital firm with over $18 billion under management across more than 500 investments in the U.S., Europe, and Asia–including Epic Games, Kongregate, and Tripledot Studios–has signalled its decision to accelerate its gaming practice with a major hire, who will lead its efforts to fund game studios, platforms, and technologies.
Moritz Baier-Lentz, who was named in Forbes’ finance 30 Under 30 in 2016, joins Lightspeed from BITKRAFT Ventures and will head up the organization’s consumer team as a partner, aiming to boost its 15-year investment history in the gaming sector. Lightspeed has made over $300 million investments in over 30 gaming deals, but has not had a dedicated gaming team until now.
Growing up in rural Germany, Baier-Lentz has been a lifelong gamer, with his earliest industry success coming 20 years ago when he became the number-one ranked player in the world in Blizzard’s Diablo II 2003. Through trading in armor and weapons, he was able to earn enough money for 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 firm’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, as a partner and management team member at BITKRAFT Ventures, Baier-Lentz helped it become one of the world’s most active gaming venture capital firms, leading a number of major 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, safe and inclusive metaverse.”
Lightspeed hopes to utilize Baier-Lentz’s expertise with team members across the organization’s 12 offices across the world to invest out of its latest $7 billion dollar early- and late-stage funds into early and growth-stage entrepreneurs, building its gaming portfolio across five overarching themes:
- Game studios “looking to become cross-media IP powerhouses”;
- Gaming platforms which hope to grow into social networks (e.g. Discord will be the next Discord
- Interactive and immersive technologies that form 3D UX, etc. (e.g. A company that is in the Unity mold or NVIDIA mold;
- Extended realities such as VR and AR;
- Web3 and Gaming as Experiences
Additionally, the firm has announced plans to launch a gaming-specific website for “Lightspeed Gaming” at some point in late Q1 2023.
Speaking of his new role, Baier-Lentz says: “We’re excited to offer extraordinary entrepreneurs in gaming a new funding option that combines authentic industry expertise from our own time as pro gamers and gaming company founders; a global platform that can support companies with capital, talent, publishing, and network access throughout their entire lifecycle; and a culture that puts founders first.
“In an industry that glorifies individual stars and their egos, we believe true partnerships build more repeated success.”
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