Niantic CEO shares more details about $245M round of funding: Samsung deal confirmed, aXiomatic Gaming featured

In a video interview with CNBC, John Hanke, Niantic CEO shared a few insights about the latest fundraising round led by IVP. Hanke admitted that Pokémon GO had one of the largest mobile game launches ever and confirmed that it continues to be a strong product in Niantic’s portfolio, boasting an increase in player engagement in 2018 compared to 2017.

Niantic is raising $245 million in Series C financing led by IVP, with additional strategic investment from aXiomatic Gaming, Battery Ventures, Causeway Media Partners, CRV, and Samsung Ventures.

aXiomatic Gaming is deeply invested in e-sports and live events, an area where Niantic is looking to grow and where additional expertise is necessary. Hanke confirmed collaboration with Samsung Ventures on an undisclosed handset feature, but also shared that the deal has a lot to do with the upcoming 5G network technology and optimizing Niantic’s Real World Platform for 5G.

An interesting Hanke quote from the official press release:

“We continue to be focused on delivering on our mission of bringing people together through experiences that marry advanced technology and the real world. This funding round adds financial and strategic support as we focus on doubling down on that mission with our platform, and building upon the popularity we’ve established in recent years as we grow our portfolio and offerings.”

Key takeaways from the interview:

  • Pokémon GO had one of the biggest video game launches ever. The game is continuing to be a strong product, with player engagement growing year over year when comparing 2018 to 2017
  • The money will be used to bring in a few key strategic partners, aXiomatic and Samsung highlighted among the rest
  • Niantic is working with Samsung on handsets and on optimizing their Real World Platform for 5G
  • The Real World Platform should be released later this year
  • AR can only do so much on the phone, Hanke is still a strong believer in future AR tech (AR glasses)
  • Niantic has learned a lot from Pokémon GO, especially how to earn money from an AR game. The Niantic AR formula has been worked on for years now and has three key aspects:
    • Get out and move
    • Explore your city
    • Socialize with other players
  • Social activity has proven to be the key factor in the viral spread of an AR product

You can watch the full interview here and read the official press release here.