Hutch yields 90x for investors

Hutch Games has been acquired for up to $375m by MTG, a Swedish esports and gaming entertainment group. The deal produced a 90x 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. Jasper has been heavily involved in the games sector since the 1990s. In 2012 he became an adviser to Hutch's founder, Shaun Rutlund, and made an early investment in the business through the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Jasper says, "I first met Shaun Rutland for a coffee (with Chris Lee who introduced us - thank you) in early 2012. Hutch was at the beginning of its journey - Smash Cops a game still in the future. 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 marks a real milestone for all of the team, and for Shaun it is the final endorsement of his brilliance in one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Very well done to you all and thank you for allowing me to share the journey." 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. As Jasper puts it, "The 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." Investors with entrepreneurial experience also understand that the life of a start-up rarely unfolds as planned. Arthur Smith, another serial entrepreneur who sits on Vala's investment committee alongside Jasper, says, "Often it's not the original idea that deserves the investment but the pivots - 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." Of course, 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.

Vala Capital Ltd (FCA number 827386) is an appointed representative of Sapphire Capital Partners LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 565716. Our address is Audley House, 12-12a Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RH.

Investing in start-ups and early-stage companies involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution. It should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of any investment opportunity will be achieved or that the strategies and methods described herein will be successful. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance and the value of an investment may go down as well as up.

The investments which we promote are targeted exclusively at investors who understand the risks of investing in early-stage businesses and can make their own investment decisions. Any pitches for investment are not offers to the public and investments can only be made through Sapphire Capital Partners LLP as the fund manager. Neither Vala Capital Ltd, Sapphire Capital Partners LLP nor any of their members, directors or employees provide any financial, legal or tax advice in relation to the investments and investors are recommended to seek independent advice before committing or if they have any doubts as to the appropriateness or suitability of such an investment in relation to their specific circumstances.

  • LinkedIn Social Icon