Razer, the high-end gaming hardware firm headquartered in the U.S., made waves last year when it entered the billion dollar unicorn club courtesy of an undisclosed investment from Intel. Now it’s time to share the wealth — quite literally — which the company is planning to do via a corporate venture capital fund that is slated to launch next year.
CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan confirmed to TechCrunch that Razer is in the process of setting the fund up. Singaporean Tan — who was speaking at the launch of Razer’s newest concept store in Bangkok, Thailand — declined to say what size it will be or be narrowed down on the kind of companies that it will back.
He did reveal that the fund will act much like “a global incubator” in that it will allow companies to tap into Razer’s existing expertise and business — which Tan pointed out, revenue-wise, is split evenly between North America, Europe and Asia. In addition, the company has 10 offices located worldwide, manufacturing partners, and relationships with the likes of Intel, Tencent and more.
“The plan is really to find strategic companies that we can help and [that can] leverage off of our profile,” he explained. “We’re really globally covered… and can pretty much [assist them] before they even more into a new geographies or jurisdictions.”
Games and game-related businesses have obvious synergies, but hardware in general is a category that interests Tan.
Pointing to a number of high profile Kickstarter projects that have run out of money lately, he said that the hardware business is “really hard” but that, as a company that has scaled to produce and ship millions of units worldwide, Razer has the expertise, understanding and reach that could massively assist young and upcoming companies.
“We can [tell portfolio companies that] this is what we learned in this jurisdiction. For example, here’s our European sales manager and they can talk to him. He’s not going to help you do your work, but he’s sure as hell going to take you 70 percent of the way there by telling you what the pitfalls are. We’ve got people on the ground who have been doing the exact same work [for years],” he explained.
Razer expects to have more news on the fund soon, with it likely to come online and begin making investments sometime in 2016.
The concept brings to mind Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker, which routinely invests in promising hardware companies. In turn, Xiaomi provides them with access to its business network and Mi.com sales platform to help spur their development while adding further products to its own sales line-up.
While it has plans to begin investing, Tan declined to discuss the possibility of an IPO or any other future exit plan for Razer.