Newcastle gaming startup, Grid Finder, has been acquired by RAFA Racing Club, a US-based motorsports venture group, for an undisclosed 7-figure sum in a majority-cash deal. Grid Finder’s community management platform allows online gamers to find communities to race across Playstation, Xbox, and PC on games such as F1, Gran Turismo, and Forza. The platform hosts over 3,000 racing communities and had over 500,000 drivers use the platform to find online racing. The team recently hosted activations with Formula E and Porsche Motorsport North America and is currently working with several gaming studios to build direct integrations. RAFA Racing Club is building a network of venues, content, and experiences for motorsports and sports car fans worldwide. Furthermore, Grid Finder’s team plans to scale the platform and become pivotal in building tech capability across the whole of the RAFA family of brands. Grid Finder’s current team will remain in place for the foreseeable future and continue to be based in Newcastle while they grow the team and build the platform.
Grid Finder was started by Tom Stapley-Bunten as a hobby project in late 2020, and the company remained a passion-project until later in 2021. CEO Stapley-Bunten met his co-founder Nikhil Patel (CTO) at a tech networking event, and they met local serial tech startup founder, Kevin Beales, who went on to lead Grid Finder’s pre-seed investment round of £200,000 in April 2022. The cash injection was used to hire Chris Honniball (CIO) as their third co-founder and build out a tech and marketing team. Grid Finder built an MVP of their community management platform throughout 2022 before opening a £1.5 million seed round in Q4.
The platform has grown considerably, and the team plans to scale it throughout 2024. The team is looking forward to the opportunities of scaling the team and platform as part of the RAFA family. It is wonderful to see Grid Finder’s founders supporting and mentoring other founders, as they have become invaluable members of the North East tech community. “Becoming part of the RAFA family of brands opens up huge opportunities for the team and the platform,” said Stapley-Bunten. “Grid Finder now has the resources and supported vision to provide immense value to the online racing space. With RAFA Racing’s passion, vision, and resources, we’ll be able to scale our product to serve a global community of racing fans. I am so grateful for the tech and startup support ecosystem that is being championed in the North East of England. It’s been great to feel part of a growing movement of creative thinkers in Newcastle, and I’m so glad that we’re able to continue to hire from our local talent pool.”