You only have a minute? Here are 3 key takeaways from the article:
• American-Ukrainian gaming startup GameTree has raised $1.7 million, in a funding round backed by Corazon Capital, Full Stack Ventures, Goodwater Capital, 32-Bit Ventures, Expert Dojo and a grant from Overwolf.
• GameTree will use the funds to further develop its platform, with the goal of stopping toxic gaming behavior.
• With a user base of over 600,000 users, the platform has facilitated over 2 million player logins over the past three years.
Founded in 2019, the startup wants to solve one of the biggest problems in gaming community – toxic behaviors and exclusionary practices. According to a study by Unity7 in 10 players have experienced some form of toxic behavior, including sexual harassment, hate speech, threats of violence, and doxing.
The problem is even more serious for female players, since 88% of the online harassment that female gamers faced was based on gender, in addition research watch. The founder of GameTree Dana Sydorenko was subjected to such abuse while playing MMO games. Ultimately, this turned out to be the inspiration behind GameTree’s mission.
“At GameTree, our vision is to create a gaming community that transcends boundaries, fosters meaningful connections, and ends toxicity. Having witnessed the power of teamwork and camaraderie during my years as an EMT and CEO, I believe every player deserves a safe and welcoming environment as well,” says Sydorenko.
She now envisions the GameTree platform as a place where players can connect in a positive and inclusive environment. Since 2019, the team has created a free LFG (Group Finder) app to find gaming friends, where they can get personal gaming recommendations and coordinate gaming sessions.
“Leveraging proprietary in-house AI based on psychological testing, player values and preferences (including over 100 data points), GameTree predicts ideal gaming partners and friends who share values of inclusion and positivity,” says Sydorenko.
Following the funding, the team is developing a full-fledged desktop application with gaming technology overlaid, introducing social feeds, groups and chat features, and will enable an expansion of B2B partnerships.
“We invested using our company’s knowledge from the dating industry (Tinder, OkCupid, etc.). We see Gametree as a business that operates in the same way, but with social matchmaking at its heart. Additionally, we see the loneliness epidemic as a major cause of societal problems and believe that playing games together is an increasingly popular way to form platonic relationships and build friendships – something Gametree is good at positioned to respond,” says Víctor Westerstrand, senior partner at Corazón Capital, lead investors in the round.
“It’s so rare that I find a company whose founders are pure executors of a strategy aligned with a product that solves a human problem of this magnitude. It was a very easy decision,” added Brian Mac Mahon, founder of Expert DOJO.