A new games-focused VC in Turkey shows the industry there continues to gain steam

Turkey has gained a well-earned reputation as a veritable cauldron of mobile games startups, leading to the rise of VCs dedicated to the sector. The latest to join this coterie is Laton Ventures, a new gaming-focused VC that has raised a $35 million fund. Founding Partner — and Solo GP — Görkem Türk says he’s aiming to build a bridge between the Turkish gaming ecosystem and the rest of the world, investing in the pre-seed and seed stages. The fund is legally domiciled in the Netherlands.

As an emerging market with a young population, Turks have eaten up mobile games as fast as they can be produced, giving rise to over 740 gaming startups. More than 48% of the 86 million people in Turkey are under the age of 30 and over 92% of internet users play games in Turkey compared to the world average of 82%.

Indeed, between 2018 and 2022 Turkish gaming start-ups raised more than $1 billion in funding.

Admittedly, Laton has some competition. There are now at least 25 VC funds that invest in video games startups based out of Turkey. That said, most invest in other tech sectors as well.

Türk, who is a former gaming and startups industry manager at Google, explained to me in a call that Laton plans to stand apart by emphasizing operational advisory to its portfolio companies.

“We’re positioning as a bridge between the Turkish gaming ecosystem, which is booming, and the international gaming ecosystem. Secondly, we will double down on operational support in areas like user acquisition, game design, cohort analysis, development, and so on. We’re backed by over 20 exited founders. That 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 U.S., and plans to leverage its veteran industry advisor network.

To that end, Laton’s LPs include Mehmet Ecevit, Co-Founder of Gram Games; Mert Gür, Founder of Loop Games; Mert Can 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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