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Ukrainian-founded GameTree Raises $1.7M to Create a Safe Space for Gamers Worldwide

Ukrainian-founded GameTree Raises $1.7M to Create a Safe Space for Gamers Worldwide, TheRecursive.com
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Only have 1 minute? Here are 3 key takeaways from the piece: 

 • American-Ukrainian gaming startup GameTree raised $1.7M, in a round supported by Corazon Capital, Full Stack Ventures, Goodwater Capital, 32-Bit Ventures, Expert Dojo, and a grant from Overwolf.

 • GameTree will use the funds to further develop its platform, aiming to end toxic gaming behavior.

 • With a user base of over 600K users, the platform has facilitated over 2M gamer connections over the past three years.

Founded in 2019, the startup wants to solve one of the biggest issues in the gaming community – toxic behavior and exclusionary practices. According to a study by Unity, 7 out of 10 players have experienced some form of toxic behavior, including sexual harassment, hate speech, threats of violence, and doxing.

The problem is even more serious for female players, as 88% of online harassment that female gamers have encountered was gender-based, further research shows. GameTree’s founder Dana Sydorenko has been on the receiving end of such abuse, while she played MMO games. Eventually, this turned out to be the inspiration behind GameTree’s mission. 

“At GameTree, our vision is to create a gaming community that transcends boundaries, fosters meaningful connections, and puts an end to toxicity. Having witnessed the power of teamwork and camaraderie during my time as a paramedic and CEO, I believe that every gamer deserves a safe and welcoming environment, too,” Sydorenko says.

Ukrainian-founded GameTree Raises $1.7M to Create a Safe Space for Gamers Worldwide, TheRecursive.com
GameTree’s CEO Dana Sydorenko

Now, she envisions GameTree’s platform as a place where players can connect in a positive and inclusive environment. Since 2019, the team has built a free LFG (looking for group) app for finding gamer friends, where they can get personal game recommendations and coordinate gameplay sessions.

“Through leveraging a proprietary in-house AI grounded in psychology tests, values, and gamer preferences (comprising over 100 data points), GameTree predicts ideal gaming partners and friends who share values of inclusion and positivity,” Sydorenko explains.

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Following the funding, the team is developing a full-fledged desktop application featuring overlay game technology, introducing social feeds, groups, and chat features, and will enable an expansion into B2B partnerships. 

“We invested due to our firm’s knowledge coming from the dating industry (Tinder, OkCupid, etc). We see Gametree as a business working similarly but with social matchmaking at its core.Additionally, we view the loneliness epidemic as a major cause of societal issues and believe playing games together is an increasingly popular way to form platonic relationships and build friendships — something Gametree is well-positioned to address,” says Víctor Westerstrand, Senior Associate at Corazón Capital, lead investors in the round. 

”It’s so rare that I find a company where the founders are pure executors of a strategy aligned with a product that solves such a large human problem. It was a very easy decision,” added Brian Mac Mahon, founder of Expert DOJO.

 

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https://therecursive.com/author/bojanstojkovski/

Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.