Funding and Investment Denmark & Central Denmark Region

Overview funding (source: own draft)

The general funding climate for gaming business in Denmark is problematic, with a lack of public funding schemes and opportunities. Gaming has not been a prolific upcoming industry in the national Danish business development strategies and programs. As such, funding for Danish gaming businesses and developers has been lumped together with creative businesses such as the Danish movie production. This has also set forth a series of requirements in order to receive funding, for example the need for applicants to have a cultural and learning aspect within their games. Furthermore, one of the main investors in the Danish game industry until now, the regionally based Capnova (detailed description below), was shut down by the end of 2018. Instead, a new centralised public investment scheme will be set up. Whether this will continue to invest in game start-ups remains to be seen.

The gaming industry also has the possibility to receive general business development support required by law on a local and regional level. This is primarily in the form of services (consultant help and guidance), and rarely direct funding.

Another challenge is the lack of private investors willing to invest in the game industry, mainly due to a lack of understanding of the game scene. There are signs that this issue will improve in the coming years, as a few successful game studios are starting to invest back into the community. But the willingness to invest by ‘traditional’ investors such as business angels and venture funds is still low.
Nevertheless, private investment climate for gaming businesses has developed in recent years, with private equity funds starting to support the gaming business development in Denmark. These equity funds have been looking at the Swedish and Finnish examples.

Public funding

  • Who: applicants must be anchored in a Danish production company
  • What: different stages in the development of a video game, e.g. development, production, launch aimed at a Danish audience, game promotion (wages for the production team, fees for external consultants/subcontractors, hard-/software to carry out the production)
  • Nature: grant
  • Size & conditions: support for development, with support amounts up to 100,000 DKK (~ 135k €) for prototype, or more if combined with a demo. A demo is understood as a fully playable part of the game in the expected final quality and technological solution (a vertical slice).
  • Geographical scope: national (DK)
  • Time scales: 3 calls per year, 2-4 weeks for decision making, 1-2 months from approval to start of support period

Private equity funds with interest in video games

Sunstone Technology Ventures is a European early stage technology investor based in Copenhagen. Recently Sunstone has so far primarily been investing in Finnish games.

  • Who: start-ups originating in Northern and Eastern Europe.
  • What: investment sectors are video games, interactive media, life science; investment stage is early stage (seed or series-A rounds)
  • Nature: private equity fund
  • Size & conditions: investment size from 100,000 € to more than 1 m € and investment conditions that in most cases, Sunstone is represented on the board of directors and works closely with the management team and the board members to develop the company
  • Geographical scope: investments in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
  • Time scales: n/a
  • Other: supported games companies are Futureplay, Everywear Games, Ministry of Games, Traplight Games, GameAnalytics

The Danish firm investment Cap’nova, which has invested 67 m DKK (~ 8.93 m €) in 27 different game developers since 2008, is going to invest 150 m DKK (~ 20m €) in the development of games for the next 3 years (2015-2018). Cap’nova’s intention is to develop the industry and invest more, by following the example of the Finnish and Swedish industries.

  • Who: only game developers?
  • What: investment sectors: video games, interactive media, food technology; Investment stage: early-stage companies with high growth potential
  • Nature: private equity fund
  • Size & conditions: investment size up to 800,000 €; Investments are typically made in the form of capital injections by buying an ownership share of the business while contributing subordinate loan capital which is to be repaid when the business can handle it.
  • Geographical scope: investment area is Denmark
  • Time scales: n/a
  • Other: supported projects are Subway Surfers, Limbo, Kittypocalypse

Status: 2020