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Former Riot Executives Launch The Believer Company with $55 Million in Series A Funding from Lightspeed, Andreessen Horowitz, BITKRAFT, Cleveland Avenue, Riot Games, 1Up Ventures, Michael D. Eisner’s Tornante, and Others
Investment to Power New Game Studio and IP Led by Industry Luminaries Behind League of Legends and a Multiplayer Revolution
LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2023-- The Believer Company, founded by industry veterans obsessed with players and creating worlds worthy of them, has secured $55 million in Series A financing. The funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, will initially be put to work building a world-class team to deliver a next-generation open-world game, anchored by an original IP, stories where player choices matter, and gameplay systems that bring players together rather than pushing them apart. The round was funded with the key support of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), plus additional seed funding from Bitkraft Ventures, Riot Games, 1Up Ventures, Don Thompson’s Cleveland Avenue, Michael D. Eisner’s Tornante Company, and other venture partners.
Believer’s leadership team includes veteran developers, producers, and visionaries responsible for seismic shifts in the video game medium. Former Riot Games Vice President Michael Chow will serve as CEO of Believer, inspiring the team with a love for player service cultivated as Executive Producer on League of Legends: Wild Rift and Co-Founder of Words with Friends developer Newtoy. Chow is joined by Chief Product Officer Steven Snow, a founding member of Riot Games who built the studio’s player-focused culture and executive-produced League of Legends to a meteoric rise and massive, long-term success.
“Players are the best audience to serve in the world. They’re noble, smart, discerning, and infinitely inventive,” said Chow. “We hold their investments of time, skill, and hard-earned money as sacred, and we will always put their needs first at every stage of Believer’s journey. We look forward to growing our team with people as passionate as we are and we are actively seeking like-minded talent to believe with us.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to begin this journey with Steven,” Chow added. “He’s a loving, stalwart champion of players—at times viciously protective of their best interests. There’s no better flag-bearer for what we’re setting out to do.”
“The last few years have brought forward some very exciting technologies. In our world, where the player is the focus, our goal is to bring select technologies into the development and gameplay spaces explicitly for the betterment of our players and the games they love,” Snow said. “Bringing free-to-play to North America and Europe with League of Legends really changed the landscape of how games as a service could work. It is our privilege to have the opportunity to help shape the future responsibly. And we are excited to say ‘no f*cking thanks’ to the technologies that won’t make the game more fun.”
Chow and Snow are joined by CTO Landon McDowell (Microsoft, Riot Games, Linden Lab), CCO Jeremy Vanhoozer (Bungie, Electronic Arts), COO Tim Hsu (Twitter, Riot Games), CMO Shankar Gupta-Harrison (Riot Games, Dentsu X), Director of Operations Grace Park (League of Legends: Wild Rift), and VP of Design Jeff Jew (League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra). Their founding motto—Credo In Ludos, or, “I believe in games”—underscores every team member’s personal commitment to making and playing games as a lifelong calling, and not merely a business. Believer is further supported by several strategic partners and advisors who have pushed the boundaries of popular culture, technology, and interactive art, including entertainment and media industry leader Michael D. Eisner, former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, and Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott.
“Truly great content franchises are not built with a single media type—they need to resonate with their audience across games, film, television, collectibles, and real-world interactive experiences,” said Eisner. “The Believer Company gets that, and we at Tornante are excited to advise them as they bring their vision to life across every platform.”
“The team already assembled at Believer stands ready to change the industry through an unyielding devotion to players,” said Moritz Baier-Lentz, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, who is joining Believer’s Board of Directors. “Forget preconceived notions about building, selling, and marketing franchises atop $70 entry fees and strictly authored, immovable stories. As a life-long player and ‘believer’ myself who’s followed and admired the studio’s founders’ work for years, I know Michael, Snow, and their incredible team will make the next big thing by doing the right thing, at every turn. I’m inspired by their vision and honored to help make it possible.”
“When Michael, Snow, and their fellow founders at Believer speak about what’s next for video games, the industry stops and listens,” said Andrew Chen, General Partner at a16z. “Time and time again, through both innovative use of new technology and subversive design principles, they’ve defied convention and realized ambitions other developers hadn’t dreamed yet. We’re proud to join them at this moment in history and empower them to find the creativity in nascent technology.”
Game developers, prospective hires, and devotees of the player experience are invited to get in touch with Believer at believer.gg.
Believer is a global games company with developers all over the world, headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Our Believers have built our lives around creating and serving games we’re proud of—from Words With Friends to League of Legends, from Destiny to PvZ. We hope you’ve enjoyed them, and if our wishes have come true, you’re still playing them today.
We still think this is just the beginning. We believe today is a singular moment in the history of games.
We believe our last half-century of progress has culminated in a global congregation of players, creators, and technologies that now make the difference between possible and impossible; player dreams that were previously unimaginable are now within our grasp.
We’ve worked hard to unite the best and bravest game creators we know, to deliver next-generation experiences equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility. We are Believers, bonded together by a deep love for players and a commitment to put them at the center of the games we create, the worlds we build, the stories we tell, and the business we run—to keep the fun going for as long as players keep believing.
If that sounds like something YOU can believe in, drop us a line. We’re hiring. =)
About Lightspeed Venture Partners
Lightspeed is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the enterprise, consumer, gaming, fintech, and healthcare sectors. The firm and its affiliates currently manage over $18 billion in capital across the global Lightspeed platform, with investment professionals and advisors in the U.S., Israel, India, Asia, and Europe. Lightspeed’s history includes over 15 years of investing in gaming, from early commitments and successes with Kongregate and Playdom to more recent partnerships with leading game studios and adjacent platform and technology companies, including Epic Games, Snap, Stability AI, and Tripledot Studios. www.lsvp.com
About Andreessen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz backs bold entrepreneurs who move fast, think big, and are committed to building the next major franchises in technology. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the firm provides entrepreneurs with access to expertise and insights in innovation, executive and technical talent, market intelligence, business development, and marketing and brand building. Find us at www.a16z.com.
Sibel Sunar, Steve Hahnel, and Kyle Prahl