4J Founders Create Chroma Ventures

Paddy Burns and Chris van der Kuyl, the co-founders of 4J Studios – known for the console versions of Minecraft – have created a new wide ranging investment company called Chroma Ventures, which will handle the pair’s investments into innovative data-driven businesses.

According to Insider, Chroma will: “channel flexible capital into a range of early-stage and established businesses with high-growth potential.” Chroma will initially focus on firms based in Scotland and the UK, but has ambitions to seek global opportunities.

Chris and Paddy have been active supporters of a wide range of Scottish startups for several years now, often in collaboration with other investors.

Investments

Their portfolio includes several investments in companies which have grown into well-established businesses, including TV advertising analytics experts TVSquared, ready meal provider Parsley Box, commercial insurance data platform Broker Insights, and videogames game studio Puny Astronaut.

Chroma’s portfolio also includes a number of indirect holdings through LVP, the venture capital seed fund for the games sector, Social Investment Scotland (SIS) Ventures, the impact investment fund backing mission-led enterprises, and Seedhaus, the pre-seed stage investor.

The new venture firm will typically make investments of between £500,000 and £5m in support of individuals and teams taking an entrepreneurial approach to developing innovative ideas and technology.

New Director

Gavin Anderson has joined Chroma Ventures as an investment director and will be responsible for developing the portfolio.

Gavin brings significant transactional experience from roles with financial giants including Maven Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank, EY and KPMG.

Chris Van der Kuyl told the Courier:

This is our money. We’ve got no external pressure in terms of having to invest a certain amount.

It means that all we are wanting to do is invest in quality businesses.

On average we’ve invested in two or three a year. I don’t think we are desperate to get to 10 a year but in saying that we’d never turn down a company we think is brilliant.

We’d be idiots if we think everything is going to work. But we believe that every one could work with a fair wind behind it.

Paddy Burns added:

Although technology is a thread that runs through our own back-stories and many of the companies we invest in, this is fundamentally about people.

It is about providing great teams with the capital and advice they need to thrive, in the same way that Chris and I benefited from the support of experienced entrepreneurs and investors when we were starting out more than 20 years ago.

What About 4J?

The launch of Chroma does not mean that 4J Studios will receive any less attention. The studio remains a significant focus for both Chris and Paddy.

“It’s definitely not an either or,” Chris told The Courier. “We are investing hugely in 4J at the moment and we’ve got the biggest ambitions for our own company.

“2020 for many reasons and one obvious one was Minecraft’s biggest year ever. We don’t see any end in sight with our relationship with Minecraft.

“We are holding games jams and thinking of new ideas. In time new things will come. We’ll back our own team at 4J as much as anybody else.”

You can find out more about Chroma Ventures here.

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