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Forge locks down $4.5M Series A to help gamers capture awesomeness

TechCrunch TechCrunch 9/06/2016 John Mannes

Sometimes entrepreneurship is about starting battles and other times it’s about finishing them. Jared Kim has been on a mission to cut the frustration out of sharing gameplay with friends since he was 19. Forge, his second play in the space, closed a $4.5 million Series A yesterday led by True Ventures. This round matches a $4.5 million seed his company received back in March.

Forge runs in the background, capturing an entire PC gaming session. Players can pull up a window at any point and share a 5- to 30-second clip from the previous 60 seconds of game play. If players are caught up in a one man battle for freedom in Counter-Strike and don’t have the time to share a clip, they can simply bookmark their quad kill and return to it after they finish playing. Forge makes it easy to share content with Twitch and YouTube integration.

“Using the exciting tools out there, it’s not easy — even for me as someone who has built this technology for my entire adult life. I scratch my head sometimes figuring out how to do it,” said Jared Kim, Forge CEO.

When Kim began his work nine years ago, Forge would have been a nearly impossible endeavor. His initial solution, WeGame, also aimed to help gamers share content. The company raised $3.5 million and sold to Tagged in 2011 but couldn’t record an entire gaming session. As a result, gamers could easily miss out on spontaneous clips they would want to share with their friends.

“We couldn’t do always-on recording because at the time only like 30-40 percent of gamers had dual-core CPUs. Now it’s completely flipped where 90-plus percent, almost 100 percent of people have dual-core CPUs,” added Kim.

Kim says he learned how to run a lean company by driving WeGame through the 2008 recession. He is determined to keep burn-rates low with Forge, which has a mostly decentralized development team. He says he also learned to disdain ads in his previous venture and now rules out banner ads, pre-roll and post-roll ads in Forge.

This is important because Forge is currently pre-revenue and has not yet settled on a monetization strategy. While customers do not pay for the free service, investors have dropped a cool $9 million over the last three months on the growing platform.

Social Capital Partner Arjun Sethi will be joining the Forge board. Sethi himself nearly acquired WeGame back when he was head of Lolapps.

“Any company aggregating content is competitive in some way but the focus of Forge is on building a community,” said Sethi.

Over the last three years, Forge has driven average time between sharing down from 200 to 80 minutes. The company is focused on creating the easiest experience possible for everyday gamers and doesn’t want to weigh down its platform with more complex tasks like sharing subscribers.

Forge supports nearly 5,000 games and can add support for most new games in seconds. The company is also working on a companion app to improve the experience for users who want to watch clips on their mobile devices.

According to Kim, initial users have been requesting the ability to stitch clips together from different moments in time before sharing. The company is toying with this possibility as a future feature.

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