WarDucks, a leading virtual reality (‘VR’) game developer, has secured a seed investment round of €1.3 million led by Suir Valley Ventures, the entrepreneur-led venture capital fund (‘Suir Valley’), with additional funds coming from Enterprise Ireland and private investors. The virtual reality market is expected to grow from GBP £1.4 billion in 2016 to GBP £26.4 billion by 2022, and Suir Valley is eager to increase its exposure to this burgeoning industry, with this injection of capital into WarDucks representing its most recent investment into the virtual reality market.
WarDucks, a studio based in Dublin, designs and develops high quality games and experiences for gamers to play on virtual reality devices. It flagship brand is Sneaky Bears, which, on the Samsung mobile Gear VR platform reached number 24 on the Top Selling Gear VR Charts, and its sequel, Sneaky Bears Rollercoaster reached a number 2 ranking. WarDucks has now launched an expanded and completely new version of Sneaky Bears, a full-length VR game, on the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift platforms. PlayStation has so far dominated the consumer Console VR market in 2017, with an estimated 1.8 million units sold to date. Sneaky Bears is also due to launch on the HTC Vive platform in the coming weeks.
Beginning her career at Facebook, WarDucks Founder and CEO, Nikki Lannen, established WarDucks with the intention of developing fun and engaging virtual reality games and has so far launched a hidden object game, Global Agents (which has had over half a million downloads), together with its Sneaky Bears suite of games.
Commenting on the recent investment by Suir Valley, Nikki Lannen said: “Virtual reality will increasingly become part of the fabric of our everyday lives and gaming is pioneering this as we speak. Our Sneaky Bears brand has already performed extremely well on mobile VR platforms, however our move now to more sophisticated hardware, including PlayStation, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive marks an important step for WarDucks. I am delighted that Suir Valley recognises our potential in the expanding virtual reality space and is supporting our next phase of growth through this investment, together with Enterprise Ireland and other private investors.”
Barry Downes, Managing Partner – Suir Valley Ventures, said, “We are delighted to announce that we are leading the investment round in WarDucks. Nikki and her team have already had major success, launching a number of hit VR games on mobile, and we are thrilled to help the company bring its unique Sneaky Bears IP to console and PC platforms. For the team at Suir Valley, VR is an area of enormous opportunity and potential, and we remain keen to increase our exposure to this market and become a leading investor in the expanding industry. We see Dublin based WarDucks as a great example of the type of games studio that is going to be hugely successful in the VR industry and are looking forward to working with Nikki and her team to support them grow the company rapidly and launch unique products worldwide.”
Niall McEvoy, Manager, HPSU ICT Dept, Enterprise Ireland said: “WarDucks is an innovative Irish start up making strong technical and commercial progress in the rapidly growing Virtual Reality space. The company is combining innovation with global ambition and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to continuing to work with them as they expand and scale in international markets”. Suir Valley Ventures was launched in partnership with Shard Capital Partners LLP in February 2017. As part of the agreement, Toby Raincock, CEO of Shard Capital, is joining the Board to support WarDucks.