Powder has closed on a $14m Series A led by Serena, including General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Alven Capital, Bpifrance Digital Venture, Secocha Ventures, Turner Novak, and Kevin Hartz.
The idea for Powder came in December 2019 when the team created a community on Discord to understand how gamers were creating game clips.
“The community literally blew up and rapidly reached over 50,000 members,” says Stanislas Coppin, Powder’s co-founder and CEO. “When we realized how much people wanted to create, edit and share game clips, we knew we were onto something that could impact millions of gamers across all gaming platforms.”
Powder officially launched on the App Store on April 10th, 2020; ten months later, in February 2021, the platform has over 1.5 million downloads, with most of them coming from the US.
Powder aspires to become the camera of the Metaverse. People increasingly live online, in games, and it hopes to allow them to capture their highlights here for perpetuity.
To enable this, Powder is building the video infrastructure of social gaming, sourcing content from all gaming platforms: the ultimate companion app from which anyone can launch games with friends and that records highlights automatically.
“We believe anyone playing any game on any platform for as little as 5 minutes can create cool video content, ” adds Stanislas. “Ten years after the emergence of the camera of the real world—Instagram—the time has come for the emergence of the camera of the metaverse: Powder, at a time when we spend more and more time in games. Once Powder becomes mainstream, everyone will seamlessly record their life as a gamer and build their virtual identities in a safe space.”
POWDER USES VIDEO RECORDING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO DETECT PLAYERS’ HIGHLIGHTS
Powder lets gamers import game clips recorded on mobile (iOS, Android), PC, and consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, Switch). An equal volume of content comes from each platform.
Gamers can then edit their game clips using the Powder video editor, which aims at democratizing gaming video editing by making it mobile-first and easy to use. Surveyed users generally use PC software to edit such content and need an average of two hours to edit one minute of video.
The most popular games posted on the platform are multiplayer. They range from first-person shooters (Fortnite, Rainbow Six, Call of Duty) to open worlds (Roblox, GTA, Animal Crossing), sports (NBA 2K, Madden NFL, FIFA), and gaming sensations (Among Us, Fall Guys).
Powder utilizes proprietary machine learning technology to enhance gamers’ experience by automatically finding video highlights in their gameplay and showcasing their content to like-minded gamers, culminating in clans creation on the platform.
“Gaming is booming, and video on mobile is booming, fueled by short form,” adds Stanislas. “We create a bridge between these two worlds. For us, it’s an oddity that it’s so hard for people to share their best gaming moments with like-minded people. We are working to solve that.”
Powder belongs to a cohort of companies that catalyze social interactions through gaming, such as Twitch, a gaming streaming platform, and Discord, a text and voice messaging app.
While Twitch focuses on live videos that are long in duration, with relatively few contributors and massive audiences watching, Powder addresses the long tail of gamers and focuses on short, asynchronous video clips.
$14M TO BUILD THE VIDEO INFRASTRUCTURE OF SOCIAL GAMING FASTER
“With this series A, we intend to increase the pace at which we are building the video infrastructure of social gaming,” says Stanislas. “O ur goal is to create bridges with gaming organizations across the globe, starting with helping game publishers gain and retain audiences organically. ”
This round of funding brings Powder’s total funding to $18m, after a pre-seed round of $400k in August 2018 (Kima Ventures, Antoine Martin, Alexis Bonillo), a seed round of $1.5m in March 2019 (General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Dream Machine, SV Angel, Brian Pokorny, Florian Kahn, Guillaume Luccisano), and a seed round extension of $1.3m in May 2020 (Alven Capital, General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Dream Machine, Seraam Invest, Farmers, Maxime Demeure, Jean-Nicolas Vernin) and funding from Bpifrance and CNC.
FOUR SECOND-TIME FOUNDERS WITH TWO PREVIOUS EXITS CREATED POWDER
Powder was co-founded in 2018 by Stanislas Coppin (CEO), the co-founder of Mindie, a pioneering music videos mobile app which exited; Barthélémy Kiss (Chief Growth Officer), the co-founder of Artomatix, the developer of an AI-powered 3D content creation software, which sold to Unity, a game engine, in 2020; Yannis Mangematin (Chief Content Officer), who was at the start of Soixante Quinze, a production company, and of Konbini, a media group focused on Gen Z; and Christian Navelot (CTO), who led the technical team of EmoJam, a musical emojis app.
“Powder’s traction results from two of the most powerful mobile and entertainment trends: new generations’ desire for new methods of creative storytelling, and the power of gaming as the next social platform,“ says Francois Meteyer, a partner at Alven and seed investor in Powder. “By building the best tool for gamers to express their styles and personalities, Powder brings virtual communities closer to the people and content they love and enables new meaningful relationships in virtual worlds. We are glad to be investors in every round.”