Lightspeed, a leading venture capital firm with over $18 billion in assets under management across more than 500 investments across the US, Europe and Asia – including Epic Games, Kongregate and Tripledot Studios – has signaled its decision to expand its gaming practice with a larger one Hiring , who will lead its game studio, platform and technology funding efforts.
Moritz Baier-Lentz, named in Forbes’ 2016 Finance 30 under 30, joins Lightspeed from BITKRAFT Ventures and will lead the organization’s consumer team as a partner, with the aim of strengthening its 15-year investment history in the gaming sector. While Lightspeed has invested over $300 million in over 30 gaming deals since 2006, it has never had a dedicated gaming practice to date.
Raised in rural Germany, Baier-Lentz has been a lifelong gamer. His first success in the industry came 20 years ago when he became the world’s number one player at Blizzard Diablo II in 2003. By trading in-game weapons and armor, he earned enough money to fund his tuition at Stanford Business School.
Baier-Lentz then became a vice president at Goldman Sachs, where he helped establish and lead the company’s global gaming practice and deals across PC, console and mobile platforms with Microsoft, Google, Meta, Activision, Meta and Electronic advised arts. He also advised on Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC and IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat.
In 2020, as a partner and member of the management team at BITKRAFT Ventures, Baier-Lentz helped become one of the world’s most active games venture capital firms, leading a number of significant deals including a US$15 million Series A -Dollar for Lightforge Games in March 2022. He also became a founding member and author of the World Economic Forum’s Metaverse Initiative, which aims to “define the parameters of an economically viable, interoperable, secure, and inclusive metaverse.”
Lightspeed hopes to leverage Baier-Lentz’s expertise, with team members in the organization’s 12 offices around the world, to grow from its latest $7 billion early- and late-stage funds into early- and growth-stage entrepreneurs to invest and build its gaming portfolio around five overarching themes:
- game studios “looking for cross-media IP powerhouses”;
- Gaming platforms hoping to become social networks (e.g. the next Discord);
- Interactive and immersive technologies shaping 3D UX etc. (e.g. a company in the shape of Unity or NVIDIA);
- Augmented realities like VR and AR; and
- Web3 and gaming as an experience.
Additionally, the company has announced plans to launch a gaming-specific website for “Lightspeed Gaming” sometime in late Q1 2023.
Speaking of his new role, Baier-Lentz says: “We are excited to offer exceptional gaming entrepreneurs a new financing option that brings together authentic industry know-how from our own days as pro gamers and gaming company founders; a global platform capable of supporting businesses throughout their lifecycle with capital, talent, publishing and network access; and a culture that puts founders first.
“In an industry that glorifies individual stars and their egos, we believe true partnerships lead to more repeated success.”