Games developer clinches multimillion-pound investment for growth

An example of Steamforged games

Foresight Group has made a £5m investment into Stretford-based Steamforged Games, a developer and retailer of tabletop games.

Steamforged was founded in 2014 by Rich Loxam and Mat Hart, both games enthusiasts who dedicated their free time to create ‘Guild Ball’, a sports-based miniature game which went on to achieve critical acclaim.

Since then the team has developed a portfolio of games based on both original and licensed IP.

Their early success led to winning licences to develop games for several renowned video games titles, and in doing so the company has succeeded in carving out a distinct niche in a market estimated to be worth around £2.3bn.

Their first licensed game based on the hit video game Dark Souls sold more than 100,000 units globally and more recently the team has developed and released a tabletop game based on world-wide sensation Resident Evil 2.

Steamforged has become firmly established as the preferred tabletop games partner for the likes of Bandai Namco, Capcom and Sony.

The investment from Foresight, which is headquartered in London but operates a Manchester office, will support new product development, which is the company’s principal growth driver and a key strength.

In the pipeline for the next 24 months are eight additional games that are currently in production or development.

The investment will also support the development of the company’s retail channels and help accelerate international growth.

In addition to the funds, Foresight has facilitated the appointment of Ian Livingstone, one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry and co-founder of Games Workshop, as a non-executive director.

Ian will use his extensive industry experience to support the company’s growth strategy over the coming years.

Rich Loxam, Steamforged chief executive, said: “Steamforged has grown beyond all of our expectations over the last five years and Foresight’s investment gives us the scope to drive the business forward in the years to come.

“We look forward to working with Foresight and utilising the investment to continue development and extend the reach of our games.”

The deal was led by investment managers Ben Dawson and Matt Pomroy from Foresight.

Ben Dawson, who will join the board, said: “Steamforged has achieved a lot in a short space of time and on limited resources.

“The team has an excellent track record in creating, developing and launching games, and with a strong product pipeline, combined with our investment, we see very exciting times ahead.”

Cowgill’s corporate finance and tax team advised the management on the investment from Foresight.

Advisers on this deal included: Legal advisers Shakespeare Martineau; financial due diligence: Grant Thornton; commercial due diligence RPL; management due diligence Catalysis Advisory; corporate finance Cowgills; tax Cowgills; legal adviser to management Mincoffs.

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