Lightspeed hires Baier-Lentz as head of gaming
Lightspeed Venture Partners has hired Moritz Baier-Lentz as a partner and its head of gaming as the firm formalizes its investment practice in the gaming industry and expands its presence in Los Angeles.
Why it matters: The multibillion-dollar gaming industry continues to grow and thrive with mega-mergers, the success of new studios and the rise of new platforms and technologies.
- "There are very healthy fundamentals here with generational tailwinds," Baier-Lentz tells Axios. "Every person who grows up today grows up with gaming."
Catch up quick: Lightspeed hasn't had a dedicated gaming team until now, but it has a long history investing in the sector. Since 2006, it's invested more than $300 million of capital and made more than 30 investments in the gaming industry.
- Its early investments include Kongregate, which was acquired by GameStop, and Playdom, which was acquired by Disney. More recent investments include Epic Games, Tripledot Studios and Stability AI.
- Lightspeed has been increasing its presence in certain cities, opening a New York City office last year.
Details: Baier-Lentz is a former professional gamer. He worked as a vice president at Goldman Sachs, starting and co-leading its global gaming practice. In 2020, he joined Bitkraft Ventures, a gaming-focused firm, as a partner.
- Baier-Lentz says the job happened "serendipitously." The opportunity arose after he ran into Lightspeed partner Nicole Quinn at a yoga class while vacationing in Greece.
- Gaming will now be an official practice for Lightspeed, alongside Consumer, Enterprise, Fintech, Healthcare and Blockchain, and have a dedicated website.
- The firm will host gaming-specific events including a 150-person founder event in Los Angeles next month and a CEO summit at GDC in March.
What to watch: Lightspeed is looking at five sectors within the gaming industry: game studios, gaming platforms, interactive and immersive technology, extended reality and web3 gaming.
- The firm plans to announce a gaming-related deal in the coming weeks. The new investments come from Lightspeed's recent $7 billion fund that brought its total committed capital to more than $18 billion.
The bottom line: "It's very easy to dismiss gaming as a growth area, but it's a monster in size as it stands," Baier-Lentz says. "It's just the most malleable, flexible type of media because it is social and because it is interactive."