Esports/aXiomatic lead Nifty Games seed round

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Nifty Games™, a brand-new video game publisher announced its initial capital raise today. Founded by gaming industry veterans Jon Middleton and Pete Wanat, Nifty Games has been formed to deliver high quality sports games on mobile and digital platforms for a large global audience, targeting passionate sports fans.

The founding investors include many notable names from the investment, professional sports and gaming communities, including: esports and video game investment leader aXiomatic Gaming and venture capital firms March Capital Partners and Defy.VC.

Nifty Games will focus on head-to-head free to play mobile and digital experiences, presenting a uniquely different gaming experience for sports fans.

Commenting on the formation of Nifty Games, Jon Middleton, Founder & CEO said, “We’ve built Nifty Games to create innovative sports games for today’s sports fans. The talent and experience on the team is second to none, and we believe our unique product direction and focus on quality will deliver a step change in mobile gaming to sports fans worldwide. It’s a great vote of confidence to have the support of such highly regarded investors in our initial equity financing. With investment from team owners from all five major North American pro sports leagues, as well as successful game industry leaders and institutional tech investors, we’re off to a great start.”

“We’re excited about Nifty Games’ vision for delivering high-quality, sports-based mobile games,” said Bruce Stein, Co-Founder and CEO of aXiomatic. “This strategic partnership will combine the Nifty Games team’s extensive experience in gaming with our group’s expertise in traditional sports, esports and entertainment.”

“We’re thrilled to invest in Nifty Games as they aim to capture the attention of traditional sports fans who have become disengaged and frustrated with the current state of sports simulations in video games,” said Gregory Milken, Managing Director, March Capital Partners. “We see the tremendous value in offering an engaging mobile gaming experience that features short session arcade play along with the sports that players love.”

The management team has delivered hugely successful AAA original IP and licensed properties to market, delivering over $1B in revenue. Management of Nifty Games include:

Jon Middleton – Founder & CEO:

Mr. Middleton, a gaming industry veteran of over 20 years, has held executive leadership roles in digital content (Madefire®) within game publishing (Pulse® Entertainment) and game hardware (Mad Catz Interactive®). He was formerly founder & CEO of Boom® In-Game Music, which was acquired by LiveGamer Inc® in 2008. Prior to that, he co-founded Massive In-Game Advertising which was acquired by Microsoft® in 2006. Before forming Massive, Middleton was CEO of Eight Cylinders Inc®., a game and broadband content authoring tools company acquired by® in 2000 and subsequently Google®.

Pete Wanat – Chief Product Officer:

Former VP of Production for Universal® Games division, Mr. Wanat helped deliver the 5th most downloaded game of all time Despicable Me™: Minion Rush™, and top ten grossing games surrounding major brand franchises such as Jurassic Park™. As a 20+ year video game industry veteran and creative leader integrating sports & entertainment IP’s into games throughout the evolution of console, PC and mobile F2P games, Mr. Wanat has worked on many of the most beloved sports video games of all time, including NBA JAM, Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball, NFL Quarterback Club and All-Star Baseball.

Nifty Games Management also includes:

Dan Wasson – Head of Production

With over 20 years in production and publishing, Mr. Wasson has held leadership roles at EA, Konami, LucasArts, Kabam, and Wargaming. He has shipped dozens of AAA and free-to-play games, with expertise managing internal and external development teams around the globe.

Jenny Lin – Head of Marketing

Ms. Lin has held senior marketing and brand management positions at major entertainment and gaming companies such as Electronic Arts, Disney / ABC Television Group, THQ and Jam City. Throughout her career she has launched console and mobile games for world-class brands including The Simpsons, Family Guy, Marvel, Disney / Pixar, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Kathy McElwee – Interim CFO

Ms. McElwee has worked in technology and games finance for over 20 years. Her past experience includes serving as CFO for 3DO, Telltale Games and Campo Santo.

Additional information is available at:


Nifty Games was founded in 2018 by Jon Middleton and Pete Wanat to produce the best head to head quick play sports games. Nifty is a game producer and live ops publisher devoted to delivering ground breaking sports games on mobile and digital gaming platforms. For more information please see AXIOMATIC

aXiomatic powers unforgettable esports experiences through sports and entertainment expertise. The company began operations in November 2015 with a mission to build a portfolio of dynamic company holdings in the esports and video gaming industry. aXiomatic leadership includes Co-Executive Chairmen Peter Guber, Ted Leonsis, Jeff Vinik and Bruce Karsh who together represent an unparalleled team of sports, technology, entertainment and investment industry titans. Through strategic partnerships, investments and acquisitions, the team connects esports groups with valuable resources including venues, technologies, media content, distribution partners and investment capital. In September 2016, aXiomatic acquired controlling interest in one of the world’s premier esports brands, Team Liquid. Working with this world championship team has given aXiomatic an authentic perspective into the rapidly-evolving esports audience and industry. In addition to Team Liquid, aXiomatic has made several strategic investments into esports and gaming-related businesses — from analytics and coaching to new gaming experiences. As esports continues its meteoric journey, aXiomatic’s goal is to use all of its resources to help create new and rich experiences for audiences and athletes alike. Please see


March Capital Partners is a Santa Monica-based venture capital firm with one of the largest global funds in Southern California. Founded by industry veterans with over 50 years of investing experience, March Capital is unique in the Southern California market with its active investments in both early and late-stage companies in mobile, enterprise, infrastructure, gaming and other growth industries. The majority of March Capital’s investments are with Southern California companies, with targeted positions in innovative global organizations. For more information, see


Founded in 2016, Defy is a new venture firm exclusively focused on early Series A, an underserved part of the venture landscape. The firm launched in 2017 after closing its first fund of $151 million. Defy was co-founded by long-term venture capitalists Neil Sequeira and Trae Vassallo, with a goal to invest in entrepreneurs and companies looking to solve complex problems. Defy’s focus is to help companies, after seed funding, mature and scale into companies ready for growth capital. The firm’s founding team has more than 40 years experience in helping successful entrepreneurs grow companies like The Honest Company, Nest, Elemental, Dropcam and more. For additional information, please visit Follow Defy @defyvc on Twitter.


Alex Verrey
Little Big PR Limited
[email protected] or +44 (0)7957 204 660