Investing in Mainframe

The games industry has consistently found new ways to reduce barriers to entry.

In the 2000s, the success of Adobe Flash-based games showed us the power of browser-based games which, for the first time, could be shared virally through a simple web link. The recent resurgence in instant games shows us that frictionless onboarding is even more powerful when coupled with modern video and social platforms that augment sharing. Cloud gaming (the streaming of high-end games from servers in the cloud) builds upon instant games by marrying the accessibility of browser links with the deep multiplayer systems and production values of AAA games, historically found on PC or console.

The true potential of cloud gaming lies not just in expanding access to games, but also in creating new types of cloud-native gameplay — only possible when the entire world, both client and server, is hosted in the cloud. For example, cloud-native gameplay could enable interactions between spectators and players, real-time content generation as players explore a world, or personalized onboarding delivered via URLs. Web3 is also a uniquely good fit for cloud games. It will allow players to leverage browser-based crypto wallets while in-game, and eventually create and own real value from the assets they earn in-game.

We believe that a combination of new gameplay mechanics, distribution channels, and business models will be key to unlocking the next 3B gamers. To this end, I’m thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is leading Mainframe Industries’ Series B and I’ll be joining the board. Mainframe is building one of the industry’s first cloud-native MMOs — a persistent, living world based in the cloud and accessible from any Internet-connected device. It’s been a privilege working with CEO Thor Gunnarson and team as they’ve innovated along many different dimensions from novel gameplay modes to cloud distribution to virtual economy design.

We first invested in Mainframe at the Series A last year. Since then, the team has realized their product vision, built cutting-edge infrastructure, and grown to over 55 strong. The Mainframe team is truly unique, combining the best of AAA PC/console talent from companies like CCP, Remedy, and Blizzard, with mobile and free-to-play expertise from companies like Next Games and Sulake.

Long-term, Mainframe will be a critical building block of the Metaverse, providing an easily-accessible, shared virtual space where players can live out alternate identities with rich social and economic networks. As new technologies like web3 and instant games continue to emerge, the future for Mainframe is bright. We couldn’t be more excited to continue supporting the team in the next phase of their journey!


The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see for additional important information.

Want more a16z?

Sign up to our new marketplaces newsletter for more