Our investment in mod.io: Building powerful player creator-led economies that enrich game play globally

We are excited to announce our investment in Melbourne-based mod.io’s US$26 million Series A funding round to power user generated content (UGC) for creator-driven gaming communities worldwide. This investment is alongside Tencent, LEGO Ventures and globally leading gaming focussed funds Makers Fund and Play Ventures.

mod.io is a cross-platform mod and UGC technology engine created by the team behind ModDB. mod.io allows game studios to supercharge their community’s creativity on PC, console and mobile by giving those players and creators the ability to search, store, use and trade unique ‘modifications’ they make to a game. ‘Modifications’, or ‘mods’, can include any changes to the gameplay not created by the game developer itself such as new maps, skins, gameplay or game assets, like a shield, sword or car. Since its launch in 2019, mod.io has been used by more than 80 games to power their mod and creator communities, with 450 thousand users accessing the platform daily on PC, console and mobile. Together this mod.io community has created over one million pieces of content, with over 500 thousand mods installed daily and over 170 million mods installed annually.

Scott Reismanis, CEO and co-founder of mod.io, is widely respected in the gaming industry having over 20 years’ experience as a web engineer and entrepreneur. Scott launched ModDB.com in 2002 and then IndieDB.com. These sites are like the movie database IMDB but for mods and games and became the ‘community centre’ for game players and fans.

Seeing UGC momentum building, Scott teamed up with his co-founder Pat to found mod.io with the vision to give more games the ability to grow and harness the power of UGC.

We first met Scott and Pat in mid 2020 and were immediately impressed with their genuine passion for, and experience in, the gaming space, their insight regarding the power of mods and the work they had done to get mod.io live in the hands of users. They are exceptional founders and people.

We were very excited at the prospect of partnering with them and the team on this journey to create the category defining UGC business globally.

But let’s take a step back for the moment and place mod.io and UGC in the broader context of the gaming ecosystem and the arch of history…

Globally, the gaming market is levelling up and is set to reach over US$250 billion annually by 2025. The gaming ecosystem comprises many nodes ranging from hardware developers (think Intel, NVIDIA, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation), game engines (like Unreal and Unity), game ‘middleware’, studios, AAA & indie game developers and distributors. This rich ecosystem is enabling the rise of the ‘metaverse’, a term used to represent the centralisation of gaming and gaming culture into a single synchronous, ongoing space in which players can interact in real time.

As the physical world moves into the metaverse and as a greater proportion of our time, attention, social interaction and wallet moves there too, there is an immense opportunity in a unique moment in time for founders to build generationally impactful businesses.

Roblox’s massive US$42 billion IPO on the NYSE earlier this year is just one example that demonstrates the potential here. In 2020, Roblox had an average of 36 million daily active users and 8 million creators. But, Roblox isn’t the first example of UGC-led player engagement.

UGC essentially provides an ‘open source’ game developer community, providing studios and players with:

1. Increased community engagement — as players and/or creators within a game start to create, us and transact individualised game assets;

2. Increased game longevity — as the game development cycle shortens and players have access to a richer, more diverse, gaming experience; and

3. Additional opportunities for monetisation — as economies develop within a game’s ecosystem.

Source mod.io.

It is these drivers that are fuelling the strong tailwinds for UGC in gaming trends and it is estimated that the total spend on UGC will be $1 in every $10 spent on games by 2030.

Source mod.io.

Enter mod.io, as the platform that unlocks this immense trend for game developers and studios world-wide.

mod.io featured on the game SnowRunner, allowing players to search, store, use and transact mods like unique vehicles and skins. Source mod.io.

“I think we’re going to see the next iteration now, where ‘modding’ goes full circle. As studios adopt better strategies for UGC and mods, it’s going to encourage players who were creating standalone games to return to UGC, because the rewards will be there.” — Scott Reismanis, CEO and Founder, mod.io

mod.io provides a turnkey UGC engine that reliably provides gaming partners a safe, scalable and engaging experience for their creators and players. At the heart of the product is its software development kits (SDKs) for Unity and Unreal, which make mods accessible in-game in one simple click, easy to integrate and entirely platform-agnostic. Integration is all that is needed by developers to form their own creator community with mod.io.

Three pillars of functionality forming the basis of mod.io’s turnkey UGC solution. Source mod.io.

mod.io has experienced exciting growth over the last twelve months, with 3x year-on-year growth. Over that same period, it has demonstrated impressive traction as it grew its user accounts from 310k to 3.5 million (11x), increased both its mods subscribed to and mods installed by 2.5x, and achieved a seven-fold increase in its mods added. There has been strong support from studios about the value proposition that mod.io delivers, with the platform being embedded in 82 games, including two AAA and AA games.

Source mod.io.
You can also track its live metrics and engagement here, where statistics are updated daily. Source mod.io.

mod.io is a fantastic example of Australian technology founders building a globally-leading business in Australia and taking their market-leading technology to the world. We believe there is an immense opportunity for mod.io and other Australian gaming, metaverse, Web3 and blockchain focused founders to create generationally impactful businesses we can all be very proud of.

The Australian government is also encouraging more development in the Australian gaming ecosystem through its Digital Games Tax Offset, which is a 30% tax offset for local and international businesses that develop digital games in Australia.

We have spent a long time deepening our knowledge and network in this space. We want more people to be involved in this space and we are building our own involvement and contribution to the rich gaming community and are always keen to speak to founders building businesses in this space.

The funds raised for mod.io in this round will be used to further build upon a vision to evolve collaborative digital play, a passion shared by everyone at mod.io. With this passion, and their early-mover advantage as the leading cross-platform ‘moding’ system, we have high conviction in mod.io’s vision to lead the creation of UGC communities and marketplaces for all games into the future.

For studios interested to learn more about mod.io’s roadmap, and leverage our expertise to launch your own creator community — reach out to discuss your UGC plans and goals.

If you are interested in what mod.io is building, and share their passion for working with the best studios in the world solving UGC at immense scale — see careers at mod.io for open roles to join mod.io’s team.

We’re excited and privileged to be partnering with Scott, Pat and the mod.io team! Onwards and upwards!

OIF Ventures is a leading Australian venture capital firm that champions exceptional founders, driven by purpose, who add material value to their customers, markets, and communities. OIF Ventures invests in early-stage companies with innovative, high-growth and disruptive technologies with demonstrated market demand.

Founded in 2016 by a team of founders, entrepreneurs, and business-builders, OIF Ventures has raised two funds to date, managing over $300 million and closing its upsized Fund II in mid-2021 for over $115 million. OIF Ventures is exclusively backed by founders, business-builders, ASX executives, HNW and family offices. While focused on backing Australian founders, OIF Ventures seeks to partner with ambitious founders who have the opportunity to expand into global markets, in particular the US, where we can support this expansion through our extensive network of potential customers and investors.

The OIF Ventures team have backed some of Australia’s leading emerging technology companies including Go1, Instaclustr, Assignar, Enboarder, Kasada, Circle In, Adventus.io, Clear Dynamics and more.

www.ourinnovationfund.com

We champion exceptional founders, driven by purpose, who add material value to their customers, markets and communities