NESTA event brings together British devs and interested investors

Vaizey: UK has the talent, all it needs is finance

The Coalition government "wants to be the cheerleader" for Britain’s creative industries, Culture minister Ed Vaizey has said.

Vaizey made his remarks at a NESTA-organised London gathering that was packed with numerous game developers and investors who are interested in backing them.

He said the UK games studios “have the talent, have the brains, and need access to finance and funding”.

This was the credo of the whole NESTA event this morning, which brought together venture capitalists – many with experience and success in games – and independent developers in the booming social and mobile spaces.

The likes of David Gardner (London Venture Partners) sat in a crowd of developers such as Charles Cecil and John Hare, and the consensus in the room was that investors and developers were, at least until today, not rubbing shoulders enough.

Industry veteran Ian Livingstone said it is the responsibility of both developers and investors to establish communication. He said investors should be hungrier in finding the most promising developers to back, and game creators needed to shout louder about their products.

"Investors have not made an effort to understand what we do as an industry," he said.

Ben Holmes of Index Ventures – the company that has backed the likes of PlayFish and Mind Candy – said there was ripe opportunity for studios to wn funding.

"We’re not looking for reasons to turn down investments," he said, "we’re looking for reasons to do them."

Vaizey said that government support in helping studios find finance was growing.

“Next week we’ll be publishing research on the risk profile of the creative industries,” he said, before branding the Shoreditch-based ‘Tech City’ a “wild success”.

Tech City – pitched as London’s answer to Silicon Valley – has got Britain noticed again, Vaizey said.

Livingstone said the potential for the new generation of UK games developers is huge.

“How are we going to build the Zynga’s of the UK? We need a better relationship between developers and investors.”

Livingstone himself has business interests in the social games space.

“What do I look for when meeting with developers who want investment? I ask, is the concept elegant, is it simple is it scalable?

“But the main thing I look for is the people behind the product. I’m an investor in people.”

With the first half of the event concluded, developers and investors were directed to private booths, where far more interesting – and of course private – discussions took place.

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