Sisu Game Ventures is an exclusive advisory and investment company focused 100% on games. It was setup in 2014 and focuses on the best gaming companies in the Nordic region. We only consider investments outside of the Nordics if they come via our own network.
The Sisu team consists of Samuli, Paul, Erik, Kalle, Moaffak and Jere - all of whom have extensive backgrounds in the game industry and startup circles, both as entrepreneurs and investors. We've founded and built sixteen game companies since the early 90s and had several successful exits.
We like to invest very early, preferably first money in - pre-revenue and most often pre-product.
The main thing is that we invest in teams - the people making the games - not just individual IPs or metrics. In addition to money, we invest our time and expertise to help level up the company for the next phase.
The Nordic game industry is known for open collaboration and that’s a principle we hold dear also among our own portfolio companies and the investors we co-invest with. This accelerates the development of the companies giving an extra edge over the global competition.
Sisu’s own investors come mostly from the game industry including dozens of individuals and a few game companies as well.
Samuli's career got its start in the demo scene in the late 80s. Through the Future Crew demo group and the Assembly computer festival he realized that his main talent was in organizing and managing things - especially people.
In 1995 he and other demo scene veterans founded Remedy Entertainment - the second oldest game studio in Finland. Samuli served as managing director until 2000. After that he founded and built six more game studios including Fathammer (mobile games, acquired in 2006), Recoil Games (PC/console games), Helsinki GameWorks (mobile games, acquired by Next Games in 2014), Armada Interactive (mobile games), Lightheart (mobile games) and Return Entertainment (cloud native games).
In 2014 he also co-founded Sisu Game Ventures with Paul and Moaffak. While he greatly enjoys helping other entrepreneurs succeed, creating and building something of his own is also very close to his heart. It is this balancing act from which Samuli draws his inspiration and motivation and what keeps him deeply connected with the industry.
Like Samuli and Kalle, Paul's roots are in the demo scene. He started his professional career in 1999 by founding Paragon Five, a US/Poland based game studio. After that he located to Silicon Valley and founded Meetro and Lefora. The resulting success enabled Paul to become an investor, which quickly turned out to be his true calling and forte. He has since founded seven investment vehicles including i/o ventures, GameFounders, Presence Capital (VR/AR), Savannah Fund (Africa), Golden Gate Ventures (Asia), Bragiel Brothers and Sisu.
In total Paul is involved with 200+ companies including Uber, Unity and Niantic (outside of Sisu). He has traveled to 100+ countries including all continents.
He is also known for his Olympic exploits having served as head coach for team Colombia in 2018 winter Olympics, national champion for Colombian National Cross-Country Ski Team 2013-2017, retiring after the 2017 World Championships in Finland. He also served as the Team Attache for the Tonga Olympic team during the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
As the founder and CEO of FunCom in Norway back in the early 90’s, Erik launched a three decade long love affair with the video game industry. In addition to starting new video game companies he also has a successful track record from turning around struggling studios like Looking Glass (Thief series, System Shock 2), Epic Games’ studio People Can Fly (Bulletstorm, Gears of War) and 2K Czech during the development of Mafia 3.
While his experience also features stints with larger companies like Atari and EA, his passion was always adding rocket fuel to fast growing startups. While running Disney’s mobile game division in Europe in 2011 he became convinced that free to play was going to change the industry. In 2017 Erik left Take Two and helped four new studios launch their business, including Smirk Game Studios in Prague with a group of ex-Disney Mobile veterans.
Then after helping Neon Giant and Exit Plan raise money from Sisu Game Ventures and working more closely with Paul and Samuli, Erik joined Sisu as a General Partner in 2020. In his role as an early stage investor his goal is to help founders build the companies that can build the games that we all want to play.
Just like Samuli, Kalle started in the demo scene at the dawn of the Finnish game industry. Kalle spent his first decade as a games journalist which culminated in Editor-in-Chief positions at two games publications as well as producing a game TV show.
In 2007 Samuli convinced Kalle to switch to the other side and thus Kalle joined Recoil Games as a producer. Since then Kalle has evolved into a production oriented builder of major games businesses having served as SVP of Product and Publishing at Rovio and Head of Licensed Games at Next Games (e.g. The Walking Dead and Blade Runner games), among other things.
In 2014 Kalle founded Helsinki GameWorks together with Samuli and ten other game industry veterans. When Kalle joined Sisu in 2018, he joined forces with Samuli for the fourth time. In 2019, Sisu incubated Lightheart Entertainment, a progressive mobile game studio with very ambitious plans and Kalle decided to join the adventure as full-time CEO.
Kalle is a jack of all trades and cultures with an endless thirst for learning new things and pushing the boundaries of what is generally deemed possible.
Venture Partner & co-founder
Moaffak's roots are in the financial technology industry. In 1992 he co-founded Trema where he served in various business roles until a successful exit in 2004.
After a world traveling sabbatical, he started helping startups as an advisor, board member and angel investor. From 2007 onward he's been working with game companies, for example, he was the first investor in Next Games. Moaffak also founded the Veturi Venture Accelerator as well as Superhero Capital and has enjoyed multiple successful exits. He has also had a major impact in creating the Finnish startup ecosystem e.g. via co-founding the Startup Foundation. The foundation is the home for grassroots initiatives in the region including Slush, Junction, The Shortcut, Wave Ventures and Maria 01.
In 2014 Moaffak wanted to go deeper into the game industry which resulted in the birth of Sisu.
In 2018 he joined Nordic Makers which is a group of top Nordic angels backing the region's most ambitious entrepreneurs. Since 2019 Moaffak has been spearheading Cooler Future, a unique company combining fintech and saving the planet.
As the youngest addition to the team, Jere started his career during his university days by supporting startups through student entrepreneurship societies. While also juggling work as the founder of Panda Training, a startup democratizing coaching through automation. In 2019 he also ran both the games and product management programming for Slush, with his curated industry events acting as the official kickoffs to the conference.
Unlike the rest of the team, Jere does not yet have a lengthy background in the industry, but shares a deep love for games. When not playing competitive games, he can be found reading incessantly. Alongside his work with Sisu he still continues building his own path as a founder.