Mercia leads £3m funding round for Soccer Manager
Soccer Manager – the UK-based online soccer management game – has secured a further £3m to support its continued growth in a funding round led by its existing investor Mercia.
The latest investment, which comes from Mercia’s own funds, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the Government’s Future Fund, will allow it to grow its user base in the Middle East and Far East through local language translations, further develop its SM 2022 game which is due to launch this autumn, and relaunch its original multi-player game, SM World, by creating new apps and adding new features.
The Preston-based company has grown revenue by over 80% since the launch of ‘Soccer Manager 2021’ in September last year. Its games are now played in 234 countries around the world and have been downloaded by more than 50 million players, attracting more than one million active users each month.
Founded in 2004 by soccer-loving brothers, Andy, Chris and Steven Gore, the company employs over 40 staff. Soccer Manager is a good example of Mercia’s Complete Connected Capital model. It was first backed with a loan from one of Mercia’s managed debt funds in December 2013, then received investment from Mercia’s EIS funds in December 2014 and received its first direct investment from Mercia’s proprietary capital in March 2015. Mercia now holds a fully diluted direct investment stake of 39.0% with a further 7.6% held by Mercia’s managed EIS funds.
Andy Gore, CEO of Soccer Manager, said
“We founded Soccer Manager with a vision to create high-quality football games that the whole world could play. We have always had the view that football, mobile and the internet is a powerful combination to achieve this vision. After years of building out our IP, technology, and games to millions of people worldwide, this investment will add significant fuel to our current growth trajectory and ambitions.
We are delighted to have Mercia as a partner that continues to share our vision and we look forward to the next stage of our journey together.”
Julian Viggars, CIO of Mercia Asset Management, said:
“The video gaming market was estimated to be worth $159.3billion in 2020, which is a considerable increase of c.9% from 2019, in part due to the changes in the leisure time spend we have seen following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soccer Manager is a great example of an innovative, regional business, which, with the determination of its founders, has scaled its recurring customer base and revenues to achieve high-quality games with a very loyal community. The business was already on a strong growth trajectory before the pandemic, but with the increasing numbers of ‘at home gamers’ not expected to slow down, we anticipate that there is further significant potential in this asset.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said:
“The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund continues to provide vital funding to innovative businesses across the region. We are working with Mercia and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on business communities, creating jobs and supporting innovation by providing access to funding and unlocking the North’s potential.”
Yorkshire accountants and business advisers Garbutt + Elliott provided fundraising advice to Soccer Manager.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£872million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over c.£106million across its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and manages Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
- The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding
- The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
- The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb