X

Mortgage & Property

New Insurance Professional

Family Office Bulletin

Mortgage Property

Insurance Professional

Family Office

Jasper Smith, Vala’s CEO, sees healthy return on Hutch Games

In December, Hutch Games, the mobile racing games company, was acquired for up to $375m by MTG, a Swedish esports and gaming entertainment group. The deal produced a more than 50x return for Hutch’s early investors, including Jasper Smith, Vala’s CEO and founder.

Founded in 2011 by Shaun Rutland, Will Whitaker and Sean Turner, Hutch specialises in creating games based on driving and motor racing. Its three best-known titles are Top Drives, F1 Manager and Rebel Racing. MTG reports that it has paid $275m for Hutch, with a further $100m set aside for further payments based on Hutch’s future performance.

The Hutch story shows how important it can be for young companies to secure the right kind of investor. Having the backing of seasoned entrepreneurs, who understand the highs and lows of creating a valuable business, can potentially be a significant benefit to founders.

Shaun Rutland, founder of Hutch, says: “Picking the right investor is extremely important – you need to find people you not only like, but trust. They will start connecting you with other like-minded people that you can like and trust as well.

“It is also the belief they give you. It’s something that I didn’t get while I worked at PlayStation. Investors like Jasper provide that belief and they are able to talk problems through with you – you feel really supported.”

Investors with entrepreneurial experience also understand that the life of a start-up rarely unfolds as planned. An entrepreneur’s journey can be incredibly lonely. They’ll often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders – from their staff, their shareholders and even their family. For an entrepreneur to be able to turn to an investor who understands and has learned how to deal with those pressures can make a real difference.

Shaun says: “Jasper is an experienced entrepreneur, so he’s been through a number of different phases in his life. He is a great listener but being able to hear his stories about when things went right – and when things went wrong – was very reassuring.”

Jasper has been heavily involved in the games sector since the 1990s. In 2012, he became an adviser to Shaun and made an early investment in the business through the Enterprise Investment Scheme. He first met Shaun Rutland for a coffee in having been introduced by angel investor Chris Lee. Hutch was at the beginning of its journey – Smash Cops a game still in the future.

Jasper says: “I was taken by Shaun’s gentle nature, his passion for the business he wanted to build and the backstory that created the opportunity for him to do so. It has been one of life’s great privileges to watch Shaun and his team build such a powerful business and in the later years to see Peter Hansen Chambers bring real commercial clout. This deal marked a real milestone for all of the team – and for Shaun it was the final endorsement of his brilliance in one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Thank you for allowing me to share the journey.”

Hutch’s performance has been exceptional. Not every business will go on to a successful exit, let alone a sale that generates a 90x return for its investors. But Vala’s investment thesis is based on the belief that companies have a better chance of surviving and thriving if the founders can draw on the experience of other entrepreneurs – who have themselves created, built and sold successful businesses. Jasper launched Vala Capital with the goal of extending this kind of support to as many companies as possible.

Arthur Hughes, a serial entrepreneur who sits alongside Jasper on Vala’s investment committee, says that often it’s not the original idea that deserves the investment but the pivots. He adds: “Those points when the founders have to make decisions that are at odds with their original plans, in order to take their business in a new direction.”

This Week’s Most Read

  • Sir Keir Starmer in pub brawl?

    Predictions of scuffles in pubs came true today, with a landlord being ejected from his own pub by interlopers. Sir Keir Starmer had been listening

  • Class of 2021 retirees at risk of running pension pots dry

    Two thirds (66%) of 2021 retirees risk not having the pension savings to sustain their planned retirement income, according to a new report launched today

  • Sir Keir Starmer, pubs and COVID – taking the piss, not taking a piss..

    We thought you weren’t allowed into pubs these days? Incredible scenes erupted today outside the Raven Pub in Bath, as Sir Keir Starmer was confronted

  • New financial advice service from Vanguard aimed at retirement savers

    Designed for investors saving for retirement, Vanguard Personal Financial Planning launches on the award-winning Vanguard UK Personal Investor platform – vanguardinvestor.co.uk/financial-advice. The service offers personalised

  • The Coming Decade for Climate Solutions

    Randeep Somel, Fund Manager, M&G Climate Solutions Fund, is finding reasons to be cheerful as he uncovers some of the powerful drivers of change which

  • Deepbridge achieves record EIS fundraising levels

      Record £29 million deployed across 37 growth companies Deepbridge attributes success to intermediary relationships and sector focus Venture capital investment manager Deepbridge Capital today

  • A Positive Charge

    Ben Constable-Maxwell, Head of Impact Investing at M&G Investments, is one of the driving forces behind the move to integrate ESG, sustainability and impact investing

  • The Superbia Group commits to accountability and living its core values with the formation of a new independent ESG Advisory Board

    The Superbia Group has today signalled its intent to live its values by announcing the appointment of a new independent ESG Advisory Board. The new

  • Advice firm highlights how growing reputation boosts referrals amid pandemic

    National financial advice firm, Tenet&You, which opened its new offices at Haddington in December last year, has reported an increase in new business since the

  • A SPAC-tacular surge

    Written by Christopher Butcher, Momentum Global Investment Management During a period of extreme volatility and a global pandemic, the initial public offering (IPO) market had

IFA Magazine

Keep updated on the most important financial events 

Make sure you are an informed

wealth professional..

Adblock Blocker

We have detected that you are using

adblocking plugin in your browser. 

IFA Magazine