Our Investment based on the enthusiasm and passion of a Team

Read the story about how masterchefs Jan Krahulík and Jan Francírek created their menu.

Disclaimer: We are starting this new educational series of Blog articles which will be divided into 2 categories (a) “educational”, (b) “why we invested in”. Both categories are a new format for how to deliver important information to you – our community.

And with no further delays, let us take you to the first reading by Jan Krahulik, Partner at pre-seed CEE VC fund DEPO Ventures, and why they invested in pre-seed stage, Prague-based, AI gaming startup GitGut, co-founded by Jan Francirek.

These texts were written down from the point of view of a VC investor and startup founder to uncover the way of thinking of both sides in this venture capital environment and to provide ways how to learn from experienced individuals. 


Note: The names are divided to Jan as Jan Krahulík, a VC investor, and Honza as Jan Francirek, for better orientation in our conversation.

Thank you both for your time, let’s dive in! What do you think about the gaming industry, and why is it hot for VC investors?

Honza: It is a fast-growing industry with so many upcoming opportunities. Games are creating new environments where people spend a lot of time, and there is so much potential around creating new ones or bringing the existing ones to a new level.

Jan: Basically we are combining here 2 industries – gaming and AI. Both industries are massively growing double digits every year and nobody expects that the growth will slow down, actually opposite is true.

And where do you see the industry in the next years?

Jan: Gitgut is built around personalization, and I think this is exactly where we are heading in the gaming industry – to have our own unique experience which fits us the most. Voice coaches built on that trend will emphasize the joy we have during the game, as well as make us grow and improve ourselves.

Honza: Tricky question because the core aspect is VR games as part of Metaverse, which is on the fence about succeeding and failing. If VR games succeed, they will change the market as we know it, but I am not sure that will happen any time soon. I think that in 5-10y from now, there will be no dramatic change in this tech, and we will experience additional gaming growth as we know.

What makes GitGut so special then?

Honza: Me (laughing). Honestly, GitGut, compared to other gaming startups, got back to the roots of gaming. Everyone was talking about blockchain games, NFT in gaming, and VR games, but at the end of the day, no one freaking cares when you ask gamers. It is about the gaming experience; we are there to take it from good to excellent for millions worldwide. We are still beta, but to achieve this experience is about respecting the environment players know and building on top of that. To make that happen, we must analyze the game and the player deeply. The cognitive analysis of gamers is fascinating for so many other reasons. Still, it allows us to personalize any content from entertaining commenting to playing music to playing at the right time. 

Jan: I fell in love with the founder. I think it is all about the founder at this stage at the end of the day. When I saw him at the first meeting, his enthusiasm and passion, I was amazed. Honestly, I don’t play games, and I am not so much in the gaming industry, but when I saw Honza, I knew that he is the person I want to work with.

Jan, and what about the team? 

Jan: It combines the passion with the experience and skills to drive global business and this is the right mix which (hopefully) will predetermine their success. They are absolutely open and willing to learn, share their fuck-ups, and seeking for bits of advice, which I love because I am not just a passive investor, but I can have my hands really on.

And based on your feeling, what is the future of this startup?

Jan: They proved the product market fit in the Czech market, and now the sky is the limit. We are entering the UK market now and the first weeks look amazing. And from there it’s quite easy to scale it globally. 

Follow-up question, how does the investment fit into your portfolio/into your Investment thesis?

Jan: It fits, otherwise we wouldn’t invest (laughing). As I mentioned, the key criterion is the founder which is checked during the selection process and still clicking. The other is the phase, a pre-seed project with global ambition with a potential of 100x. That’s what we like. And the AI vertical also fits our investment strategy, although I have to admit, that is our first project in gaming and I don’t have so much experience with it, but it’s more about the work with the founder and giving the big picture on the table.

Honza, why did you choose DEPO Ventures as one of your first VC investors?

Honza: In the early stages like this, what matters is to get money to house the fastest and easiest way. Smart money is cool, but it doesn’t make a difference if you don’t have a product yet. What matters for us is to work with someone excited about the product, rather than someone having FOMO and trying to kick us off the table with any argument. 

So was this their biggest added value? And what another?Honza: Yes, they were really fast with the investment. Furthermore, they are helping us with connections in any way they can. They have a good network of local non-gaming investors. 

Question to both of you, how long did the process take from the first meeting to the singing of the Term Sheet?

Jan: I am not sure exactly, but I think about 3 months, maybe even less. Gitgut was one of the first projects in our new fund, so it went quite fast. As I said, we need to be sure that our “chemistry” works with the founder, so we needed to meet a couple of times, but it pays off.

Honza: After we showed them we had a lead investor, it took a few weeks to have money on account.

Honza, how did you reach out to DEPO Ventures?

Honza: Through friends.

And as a close-up, any recommendations for other founders raising funds and thinking of reaching out to DEPO Ventures?

Honza: For local startups raising early money is DEPO Ventures one of the best options I can think of. They are fast with a good network for follow-up investors. Do not seek early-stage investors for some additional expertise than that. Don’t do it if you cannot prove your MVP without them.

Jan: Reach us via our website or directly through my LinkedIn.


Awesome, thank you both!

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