The Company is a SPAC incorporated under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as a public limited liability company (société anonyme) for the purpose of acquiring a majority (or otherwise controlling) stake in a company or operating business (the “Target” or “Target Business”) through an Initial Business Combination. The Company intends to focus on targets operating in the sectors of Video Games, Esports, Interactive Streaming, GenZ Social Networks, Connected Fitness & Wellness and Metaverse Technologies (which have a combined market size in excess of US$350 billion) with principal business operations in the U.K., Europe or Israel, although it may pursue an acquisition opportunity in any industry or sector or region.
The Sponsor of the SPAC is an affiliate of Hiro Capital, a Videogames and Metaverse technology venture capital fund. The key and leading managers at Hiro Capital are also the shareholders of the Sponsor, namely Luke Alvarez, and Cherry Freeman and Ian Livingstone together the “Sponsor Management Team”).
Luke Alvarez, founding Managing Partner at Hiro Capital and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, is a serial entrepreneur and technology media executive with more than 20 years of experience in video games and digital sports and 30 years in TMT and internet and technology. He has extensive experience founding high-growth start-ups across the games and technology sectors, including Inspired Gaming Group / Inspired Entertainment (a leading creator of Virtual Sports games, regulated lottery technologies and interactive gaming), the Cloud Networks (a public access wifi pioneer) and Upskins (a video games Skins NFT platform). Luke was a Case Leader at the Boston Consulting Group, earned a First Class Honours in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and was a Fulbright Scholar to the University of California, Berkeley. Luke is a Non-Executive Director or Board Observer at various video games, connected fitness and sports technology businesses including Snowprint Studios, Liv.TV, FitXR, Flavourworks, Betvictor, Nurvv, Polyarc and FRVR.
Cherry Freeman, founding Partner at Hiro Capital and Chief Operating Officer of the Company, is an entrepreneur and investor in the video games, media and software sectors with more than 20 years of experience in technology innovators. Cherry is the co-founder of global community and social e-commerce brand LoveCrafts and has worked with and invested in high growth venture-backed SaaS companies including Mimecast and New Voice Media and connected wellness femtech leader Chiaro (Elvie). Cherry was previously at The Boston Consulting Group and has a first class degree in history from Cambridge University. Cherry is a contributor to UK Tech Nation’s ‘Upscale: what it takes to scale a startup, by the people who’ve done it’. Cherry is a Non-Executive Director or board observer at multiple video games studios and connected fitness innovators, including FitXR, Elvie, Happy Volcano, Double Loop Games, Keen Games, Nurvv and PlayerData.
Ian Livingstone, founding Partner at Hiro Capital and Director of the Company, is a pioneer of the global games industry with more than 45 years of experience in the sector. He is a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and received a Special BAFTA Award and four Honorary Doctorates for his services to the UK Video Games industry. He co-founded two companies that acquired market capitalization in excess of US$1 billion – Games Workshop (key IP: Warhammer), and Eidos (key IP: Tomb Raider) and was an early investor and Chairman of two other companies that also reached US$1 billion valuations – Playdemic (key IP: Golf Clash) and Sumo plc (SUMO: LON – GB). Ian co-created the multi-million-selling Fighting Fantasy series of role playing game books. He remains the Chairman of Sumo Group plc and is a Non-Executive Director at multiple video games studios, including Fusebox, Midoki, Antstream, Flavourworks, Polyarc and Twin Suns.
Luke, Cherry and Ian founded Hiro Capital in 2019 as a technology venture capital fund with a focus on making Series A / B investments in high-growth Video Games, Esports, Interactive Streaming, Connected Fitness and Metaverse Technologies innovators (the “Hiro Fund”). The Hiro Fund is targeting a 5x return for its capital invested. The Sponsor Management Team believe the Hiro Fund is on track to deliver this target driven by the Hiro Fund’s large opportunity pipeline, the strong macroeconomic and secular tailwinds of its target markets and the Fund’s careful target selection and due diligence. The Hiro Fund’s investors and co-investors include many of the leading strategic and financial investors in the Games and Metaverse sectors.
The Hiro Fund raised approximately €115 million and since its first close in August 2019 has made 20 investments – 19 direct investments by the Fund in various UK, EU, rest of the world and US Video Games, Esports, Interactive Streaming and Connected Fitness innovators – plus 1 non-Hiro fund SPV consortium including Hiro Capital LP’s and Westerly Winds in a Series C round led by BlackRock Private Equity Partners and BGF in a UK-based Connected Wellness Femtech leader.
Hiro Capital has an expert and diverse investment team of 12 sector experts, with specialisms in Games and Metaverse technology, Games Finance, KPI’s, Gameplay and other relevant topics. The Hiro Capital team of 12 specialists combined has more than 150 years of sector experience.
The Company intends to tap later stage opportunities and capture a larger portion of the growth curve, by exploring a pipeline of high-quality de-SPAC opportunities through its strong institutional network and access to the wider VideoGames and Metaverse ecosystem. Hiro Capital’s expertise in Series A / B investments is highly valuable and relevant given the compression of the growth cycle from early-stage to unicorn.
The key founders of Hiro Capital also have an established track record of investing in market leaders and have created a reputation of successful entrepreneurship and investment in the video gaming, digital sports, and interactive media sectors. The contacts and relationships the Hiro Capital team has built over decades of activity in the industry will provide the Company with direct access to leading companies and executives, which it believes creates a significant competitive advantage in sourcing and completing an investment. The key founders are respected in their sectors as creator entrepreneurs, generating a high degree of trust with the founders of potential Target Businesses.
The Company’s management is led by Luke Alvarez, Chief Executive Officer; Cherry Freeman, Chief Operating Officer; Ian Livingstone, Non-Executive Director; Jurgen Post, the Senior Independent Director of the Company’s Board of Directors; and Emily Greer and Addie Pinkster, both Independent Non-Executive Directors.
Jurgen Post, Senior Non Executive Director of the Company’s Board of Directors, has more than 35 years of experience in Videogames and Entertainment Media and is a serial leading corporate Videogames executive. Jurgen is currently [the outgoing] Chief Executive Officer at Miniclip, a Tencent-owned global leader in digital games. Miniclip develops, publishes and distributes engaging games to an audience of over leading global Mobile Videogames platform. Miniclip distributes mobile games to 250 million monthly active users across mobile, social and online platforms worldwide including leading franchises such as 8 Ball Pool™, Golf Battle™, Football Strike™ and Agar.io™ which have generated more than 2.0 billion downloads to date. Jurgen is the former President of International Partnerships at Tencent EMEA, one of the world’s largest Videogames and Social Media platforms, where he led the acquisition or investment in 10 Videogames studios, six of which he was also a non-executive director. He was formerly President and Chief Operating Officer of Sega EMEA and General Manager of Sony BMV Music Benelux. Under Jurgen’s leadership, Sega Europe grew from $50 million to $500 million USD of revenues. At Sega Jurgen also launched leading IP’s such as “Mario and Sonic at the Olympics” and reinvigorated the Sonic the Hedgehog brand with over 50 million unit sales. He graduated as Bachelor of Business Administration at HEAO in 1991 and at IMD Lausanne (Advanced Strategic Management) in 1997.
Emily Greer, Independent Non-Executive Director, has more than 15 years of experience in video games and is a leading innovator in Mobile Social Games. Emily was previously the CEO and co-founder of Kongregate, a leading browser games platform and mobile games publisher. Under Emily’s leadership, the Kongregate browser game platform grew to 18 million monthly active users, with more than 100,000 games from 35,000 developers, including Supercell, EA, and Ubisoft. Kongregate helped pioneer free-to-play games in the Western market with their kreds wallet, and then launched a mobile publishing business that generated approximately 200 million players in 5 years, with more than 50 published titles including AdVenture Capitalist, AdVenture Communist, and Animation Throwdown. Emily led the acquisition of Kongregate by GameStop in 2010, then out of Gamestop by MTG in 2017, as well as overseeing Kongregate’s acquisition of four game development studios between 2016 and 2019. Emily is also the co-founder and CEO of Double Loop Games, a San Francisco-based mobile social games innovator dedicated to making delightful, relaxing experiences for non-core gamers. (Double Loop Games is also a Hiro Fund investment). Emily was a Board Member and Vice-Chair of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA®) for three years, and has been a Non-Executive Director at various video games businesses including Playfab (sold to Microsoft). She graduated with a degree in Russian & Eastern European studies from Yale University.
Addie Pinkster, Independent Non-Executive Director, has more than 15 years of experience in technology investment, institutional investment, hedge funds and venture capital, including in the Video Games, Software as a Service, Connected Wellness and Femtech sectors. Addie is the founder and CEO of Adelpha Network, a female-led corporate financial advisor and investment network. Addie has been a Non-Executive Director or Observer at various video games and technology businesses including Fusebox, Cloud Cycle and others. She graduated with a degree in SPS & MST from University of Cambridge.