A new game-focused VC in Turkey shows the industry continues to gain steam there Tech Crunch

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Turkey has a well-earned reputation as a true hotbed of mobile games startups, leading to a surge in VCs dedicated to the sector. The latest to join this coterie is Lawton Ventures, a new gaming-focused VC that has raised $35 million in funding. Founding partner — and solo GP — Görkem Türk says he aims to build a bridge between the Turkish gaming ecosystem and the rest of the world, investing in pre-seed and seed stages. The fund is legally domiciled in the Netherlands.

As a growing market with a young population, Turks devoured mobile games as fast as they could produce them, spawning 740 gaming startups. More than 48% of Turkey's 86 million people are under the age of 30 and 92% of internet users play games in Turkey compared to the global average of 82%.

In fact, between 2018 and 2022 Turkish gaming startups have raised more than $1 billion in funding.

Lawton has some competition. There are now at least 25 VC funds investing in Turkish video game startups. Many also invest in other tech sectors.

Turk, a former industry manager for gaming and startups at Google, explained to me on the call that Lawton plans to differentiate itself by emphasizing operational advice to its portfolio companies.

“We stand as a bridge between the booming Turkish gaming ecosystem and the international gaming ecosystem. Second, we double operational support in areas such as user acquisition, game design, coordination analysis, development, etc. We are backed by 20 exiting founders. It really sets us apart,” he said.

The fund has already invested in five companies in the past six months: two in Turkey, two in Europe and one in the US, and plans to leverage its experienced industry advisory network.

To that end, Lawton's LPs include Gram Games co-founder Mehmet Ecevit; Mert Gurr, founder of Loop Games; Mert Ken Kurum, founder of Ruby Games; Fırat İleri, Managing Partner of Hummingbird Ventures; Nevzat Aydın, founder of Yemeksepeti and Eric Kress, founder of Gossamer.

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