The American-Ukrainian company was launched by Dana Sydorenko and John Uke in 2019 and aims to create inclusive, non-toxic, and friendship-driven gaming communities on a global scale.
Gaming, the world's largest entertainment industry by size and revenue, is severely impacted by toxic behaviour and exclusionary practices.
A study by Unity found that 7 out of 10 players have experienced some form of toxic behaviour, including sexual harassment, hate speech, threats of violence, and doxing.
Additionally, nearly half of the players say they at least "sometimes" experience toxic behaviour while playing, and around 21 percent report experiencing it "every time" or "often."
The problem is even more acute for female players. As much as 88% of online harassment that female gamers have encountered was gender-based, according to research by Reach3.
A lifelong gamer, GameTree founder Dana Sydorenko has unique experience in business, gaming, and community building.
Prior to her ventures in the tech industry, she served as a paramedic in the Ukrainian Army. She later transitioned her experience to the business sector by creating one of the largest military supply companies in Ukraine.
After a highly traumatic war experience, she felt depressed and isolated, and MMO games became her safe space and main activity. Still, often, instead of a safe and friendly community, she faced toxicity and harassment.
"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 as a paramedic and CEO, I believe every gamer deserves a safe and welcoming environment, too.”
GameTree aims to tackle global issues in the gaming community by providing a platform where players can connect in a positive and inclusive environment.
Since 2019, the team has built a free LFG (looking for group) app to find gamer friends, get personal game recommendations, and coordinate gameplay sessions. It’s available on the web, iOS and Android.
The platform has facilitated over 2,000,000 gamer connections over the past three years through AI Psychological Matching, game recommendations, and support for over 200,000.
GameTree's newest round has drawn support from Corazon Capital, Full Stack Ventures, Goodwater Capital, 32-Bit Ventures, Expert Dojo, and a grant from Overwolf.
Angels participated too, including Sam Yagan, former CEO of Match Group; Phil Schwarz, the marketing visionary behind Tinder's success; Coddy Johnson, former CEO of Activision-Blizzard; Victor Yushchenko, former President of Ukraine; and Felix LaHaye, CEO of United Esports, and Nicolas Stehle, CEO of Scalefast BU.
Víctor Westerstrand, Senior Associate at Corazón Capital shared:
"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.”
Following the funding, the team is developing a full-fledged desktop application featuring overlay game technology, introducing dynamic social feeds, groups, and chat features. It will enable an expansion into B2B partnerships.
Lead image: GameTree CEO Dana Sydorenko. Photo: Uncredited.