Gaming startup Yakkr lands six-figure pre-seed investment

A tech start-up launched by two friends at Durham University has secured a six-figure pre-seed investment from Athena Venture Capital, backed by TwinklHive.

Yakkr was created by Marcus Rowley and Rhys Birkinshaw – both with degrees in finance and computer science – and connects fans with their favorite celebrities, influencers and gamers.

The platform allows fans to pay for digital experiences, such as playing FIFA against a professional footballer.

Read more: Newcastle advanced research moves to four-day working week after successful trial

Mr Rowley said: “While it’s unlikely you’ll ever get the chance to play football with Messi, people might like to play him on FIFA and pay for the experience. With the growth of the demand for digital experiences since the start of the pandemic, fans want to engage with their favorite celebrities, influencers, and gamers, and Yakkr is making that happen.

“The creator schedules their availability with the game they’re playing and the price per slot; the fan buys a space in the session they want to participate in, then when the time comes, they jump into a Yakkr session and off they go!”

Durham City law firm Swinburne Maddison LLP has provided advice to Yakkr which is in the pre-revenue stage and will use the funding to grow the business and develop relationships with esports teams and game creators contents.

Alex Wilby, a partner in Swinburne Maddison’s business and commercial team, has used his experience in the technology sector, including with companies such as Land Tech, a London-based company that provides software to streamline the real estate development process, and sale a year ago. of Silent Games – a game design studio in Newcastle, which has been acquired by Amplifier Game Invest AB, a subsidiary of the Swedish listed Embracer group.

He said: “We were introduced to Marcus and Rhys after approaching Durham City Incubator (DCI) for a recommendation. We have already acted for many companies within the framework of the DCI program, providing different levels of support.

“I regularly speak for fund managers and investors, so I have experience of what both parties require. To do the job well, you must have the legal experience to know where to focus your time and attention in order to control costs while adding value for your client.

While in college, Mr. Rowley was involved in two start-ups and Mr. Birkinshaw in several, one of which set up shop in Silicon Valley.

Mr Birkinshaw said: ‘We were introduced to Twinklhive by Durham University. While obviously we’re not in the ed-tech business, we still submitted our pitch deck for Yakkr in hopes of talking to potential investors. It worked.

Gaming is something Marcus and I have done since we were young – playing Driver 3 on the original Xbox and Star Wars Battlefront Galactic Conquest on Playstation 2 – it’s a hobby we We’ve always had a passion, so it’s fantastic to be able to turn that passion into a business. The future looks extremely exciting for us.

Prior to receiving the investment, Marcus was working for one of the big four accounting firms in his transaction advisory practice and moving towards his ACA qualification while Rhys worked as a lead developer for a start-up in the industry. raw material.

The investment allowed them both to go full-time to Yakkr, while employing an additional front-end developer.

The pair plans to release Yakkr in the spring of 2022 with basic features available to users, then expand later to make it the go-to platform for gaming experiences around the world.

Mr Wilby added: “The conclusion of this transaction has been a fantastic start to what promises to be another excellent year of trading for Swinburne Maddison, which currently sees the company extremely busy and ahead of its targets at all times. levels.

“Furthermore, the recent arrival of one of Teesside’s top commercial lawyers, Craig Malarkey, has added strength and depth to our commercial and commercial team, so the year ahead is shaping up to be a very promising.”

Comments are closed.