Polish state-owned operator Totalizator Sportowy and American venture capital fund ffVC have partnered to pursue investments in gaming start-ups. The ffVC Tech & Gaming fund will be used to invest in 10 to 15 start-ups by the end of 2023. This will focus predominantly on businesses in Totalizator Sportowy’s native Poland or other Eastern European markets, especially those looking to expand into the US.
Businesses are expected to receive between PLN1m (£202,000/€224,000/$271,000) and PLN8m in their first investment, though subsequent investments may be as high as PLN15m.
In addition, companies that receive investment will gain access to the operator’s network of contacts and resources, while ffVC aid their US expansion.
Olgierd Cieślik, president of the management board of Totalizator Sportowy, said working with promising new businesses was an important step for the future of the operator.
“Continuing the technological transformation of Totalizator Sportowy requires us not only to cooperate with the global giants of the gaming market, but also to be open to the implementation of products and services provided by young innovative companies, including Polish startups. We hope that [this support] will bring us all great benefits and, above all, the possibility of further growth.” Cieślik said.
John Frankel, founder and partner of ffVC, said he was excited to expand his fund’s work to Poland.
“We are glad that we can expand our business and start investing in Poland. We have created a strong international team to search for the best Polish companies that, thanks to the help of ffVC and Totalizator Sportowy, have a chance to become leaders in their industries. The venture capital market in Poland has been developing dynamically for years and we believe that the market is entering the phase of development, after which Polish startups will achieve a global scale of operations,” Frankel said.
Frankel will manage the fund alongside three other ffVC partners: US-based Adam Plotkin and Poland-based Mariusz Adamski and Maciej Skarul.
“We want to support the development of innovative and ground-breaking Polish companies by using ffVC’s relations with strategic partners such as Totalizator Sportowy and helping Polish companies to expand internationally, especially to the USA,” Adamski said.
The fund was established under the Polish Development Fund (PFR) and the National Center for Research and Development’s Corporate Venture Capital programme.
“We are introducing a new CVC fund to the Polish market, focused on industries which – as we see in our other programs and initiatives – very effectively absorb R&D investment, turning it into products with potential for international commercialisation,” Przemysław Kurczewski, deputy director of the National Center for Research and Development, said.
Maciej Ćwikiewicz, president of PFR Ventures, added that gaming businesses offer major interest among investors and so such a fund made sense.
“Experienced game producers attract enormous interest on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and now just starting studies and projects can count on alternative capital,” Ćwikiewicz said.