The Hamburg-based incubator program “Games Lift” starts its application phase for 2021. Five game developer teams will be supported in creating concepts for digital games with high market potential. The Games Lift incubator premiered successfully in 2020 and is now taking in its second batch of developer teams. In addition to financial support of up to 15,000 euros per team, participants can expect a workshop and mentoring program with international games industry experts as well as workspaces in a co-working space. The applications phase runs until July 26.
“The Games Lift Incubator program leverages a great strength of Hamburg as a games industry hotspot: a broad ecosystem of games companies with experts who actively share their knowledge with up-and-coming teams. Through mentoring, coaching and financial start-up support, the Games Lift Incubator enables young teams to take important leaps towards fleshing out their project ideas. We call to everyone who’s got a great game idea up their sleeve: Take this opportunity to advance your ideas and learn from some of the best in the games industry!”, comments Margarete Schneider, Project Manager for the Games Lift Incubator at the location initiative Gamecity Hamburg.
What happens after the application?
After the application phase, the best applicants pitch their projects to an awarding committee of industry experts. The five teams with the most convincing pitches are accepted into the incubator. For them, the intensive phase of the Games Lift Incubator follows from September to the beginning of December 2021.
After that, Gamecity Hamburg will continue to support the teams for another year with individual coaching by professional consultants and a PR agency specializing in indie games.
During the intensive phase, participants should be able to attend workshops and coaching sessions up to two days per week. Also, all teams admitted to the incubator must either already have their headquarters in Hamburg, or move it to Hamburg.
Until July 26, 2021, applications can be submitted online via https://www.gamecity-hamburg.de/incubator/. All further important information for applicants can be found there as well.
The awarding committee
The awarding committee consists of five industry experts from successful games companies, the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media and Gamecity Hamburg:
Anne Beuttenmüller, Director Marketing EMEA Niantic, Inc.
After several positions at Google, Anne Beuttenmüller became the first employee of the augmented reality pioneer Niantic in Europe. As European head of marketing, she is one of the driving forces behind the success of titles such as Ingress Prime, Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Wolf Lang, CEO Super Crowd
Wolf Lang is co-founder of Hamburg-based indie studio THREAKS and CEO of event agency Super Crowd, which specializes in the games market. Super Crowd was recently awarded a special prize by the jury of the German Computer Game Award (Deutscher Computerspielpreis) for its virtual trade fair concept Indie Arena Booth Online, which allows indie developers present themselves digitally at the largest European video game exhibition gamescom.
Margarete Schneider, Project Manager Gamecity Hamburg
As a former Senior Product Manager and Head of Sales Department for Hamburg-based publisher and developer Daedalic Entertainment until 2018, Margarete Schneider has built an international network in the games industry and has deep insights into the marketing and distribution channels of video games. At Gamecity Hamburg, she is in charge of the Games Lift program.
Jens Unrau, Head of Department Media and Digital Economy at the Ministry of Culture and Media in Hamburg
Jens Unrau has been accompanying and supporting the development of the media and digital economy in Hamburg for over 20 years. Since 2003, he has also been the contact person for the Hamburg games industry within the Ministry of Culture and Media. He contributes his accumulated experience as the initiator of the first Hamburg prototype funding program as well as a member of the awarding committee of the new Gamecity Hamburg prototype funding.
Ole Schaper, CEO & CTO Sviper
Ole brings his experience both from developer and management positions at development studios, and as founder and CEO of his own companies. Currently he serves as co-founder, CEO and CTO for the Hamburg-based studio Sviper, which specializes in mobile games. Sviper is best known for the successful game Super Spell Heroes and was recently able to raise a seven-figure sum from international investors.
“I am excited to contribute to the promotion of young developers from Hamburg’s games industry as a member of the incubator’s awarding committee. As a games industry entrepreneur who founded a company in Hamburg myself, I know how valuable support from experienced industry experts can be, especially in the early stages,” says Schaper, who joined the Games Lift Incubator awarding committee in 2021.
Positive summary of the Games Lift Incubator’s first season
Last year, five teams from Hamburg already went through the Games Lift Incubator program successfully, which was then offered for the first time. “We met a lot of great people and noticed how open and accessible everyone in the industry is. You always hear that the market is so highly competitive, but that’s not how it’s lived at all; instead, everyone supports this incubator so that everyone can benefit and develop good games,” reports Ole Jürgensen of his experience. Together with his team, Ole designed the virtual reality game Crumbling in the Games Lift Incubator in 2020. Gamecity Hamburg continues to support the team with subsequent prototype funding in 2021.
All information about the Games Lift Incubator, including the “How to apply” fact sheet, FAQs and the link to the online application can be found at https://www.gamecity-hamburg.de/incubator/.
Further funding opportunities through Gamecity Hamburg
In addition to the Games Lift Incubator, Gamecity Hamburg also runs the Hamburg Prototype Funding. In the first funding round 2021, six teams and companies will be supported with a total of 252,000 euros to further develop their concepts into game- and marketable prototypes through this program.
For the first time, there will be a second round of prototype funding this year, for which developers and companies can apply from August 30.
All information on the Prototype Funding program can be found at: https://www.gamecity-hamburg.de/funding/.