Gaining and maintaining financial stamina remains one of the top priorities for our local game developers. While it might not be easy to secure funding, there’s an abundance of funding options for you to explore. For those that found their shoe rather empty after Saint Nicholas and aren’t really holding their breath to discover a full Christmas stocking, we worked together with VAF/GAME to compile a comprehensive list (link in Dutch) of different types of funding opportunities and other financial support measures.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular options.
Everyone knows about VAF/GAME and Creative Europe Media funding by now. Those are aimed at funding a certain project, but you can also apply for funding in order to grow your company as a whole. Check out the funding database at VLAIO (link in Dutch) to get an idea of the best local, regional and international funding options for your company. For instance: in the City of Ghent, start-ups can get a € 5000 pat on the back.
Getting a bank to cough up a loan for your new game development company without any kind of securities is not going to happen. PMV can help you out in a number of ways, either by providing additional securities (link in Dutch) in order to secure a loan after all, or by granting your company a loan themselves. Game developers shouldn’t skim on pitching their business to Media Invest Vlaanderen, a joint venture between VRT and PMV, either.
Crowdfunding platforms (link in Dutch) like Kickstarter are another way to round up capital for a specific project. But be aware that crowdfunding is a very specific beast that needs special care. Hurling yourself into a crowdfunding campaign without a proper goal or proper preparation is a surefire way to burn time and resources, so take into account the time and energy you’re going to spend on fuelling the campaign. A lot of the time game developers use crowdfunding to attract additional funding, instead of it being their main source of capital.
Venture capital is rather rare in Europe compared to the US, with only 2% of video game studios receiving any kind of VC funding. In general, VC funding for European companies is a little under 20% of the money invested in American companies.
London-based Hiro Capital is looking to change this, at least for 20 innovative companies working in games, esports or digital sports. The investment firm, backed by industry legend Ian Livingstone, is launching a fund worth € 100 million. You can do the math of how much they’re planning to invest in each company. While this might not be on the cards of everyone, we certainly believe there’s a couple of game studios who could greatly benefit from this.
Finally, it’s also worth looking into tax incentives. We hope to bring you an update on the tax shelter as quickly as possible in 2020, but for now you can fall back on the tax shelter for start-ups (link in Dutch) and other tax incentives that are explained a lot better by fiscal lawyer Hendrik Putman.
So there you have it. If your New Year’s resolution is to find yourself a ton of money to build your dream game, there’s options. It’ll never be easy, but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.