Dove Dispatch #22 - Play-To-Earn Gaming
Venture Capital Fuels The Play-To-Earn Revolution
Hello world, and welcome to Dove Dispatch #22!
Today, we are digging into the fundraising ecosystem for gaming projects building around the play-to-earn model.
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The play-to-earn gaming model embraces the idea of an open economy and financially rewards every user who adds value by playing. Spending time in games is getting redefined: a game used to be something users would spend hours of time in for little return. But now, a player’s time and skill can bring real-world ROI in the form of income and wealth creation. Many lives in countries such as India, Venezuela, Brazil, the Philippines, and Indonesia have improved thanks to the guild’s efforts. For the sake of clarity, we are including any game that enables players to earn in-game assets, even if the game is not free-to-play (such as Sorare).
The play-to-earn model is not only eating gaming: it is transforming gaming companies into fintech and consumer platforms.
With Axie Infinity and Yield Guild Games receiving a lot of capital, the play-to-earn revolution is fueled by venture funding rounds.
With 41 deals and more than $1B raised since January 2021, play-to-earn-focused games concentrated around 5.2% of the fresh capital flowing into the crypto industry, and 47% of what has been injected into the crypto gaming vertical.
With less than 2 weeks in, $179M was raised in October alone. Besides Sky Mavis’ recent Series B, some noteworthy rounds:
DeHorizon ($8.5M) — with participation from Everest Ventures, Sfermion, Dragonfly Capital, Animoca Brands, Yield Guild Games, Mechanism Capital, gumi Cryptos, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Bitscale Capital, Republic Realm, YouBi Capital, The LAO, LD Capital, Dialectic Capital, Momentum
6, Stable Node, Taureon Capital, Digital Finance Group, and others.
Merit Circle ($4.5M) — with participation from DeFiance Capital, Mechanism Capital, Spartan Group, Digital Currency Group, Maven 11 Capital, OP Crypto, Dialectic Capital, CitizenX Crypto Ventures, Yield Guild Games, Bitscale Capital, Jiho Zirlin, Alex Svanevik, Isaac Lidsky, Richard Ma, and others.
Elpis Global ($2.1M) — with participation from Hashed, HyperChain Capital, Kyber Network, Signum Capital, DeFi Capital, FOMOCraft Ventures, Coin98 Ventures, SotaTek, Kyros Ventures, Avocado Guild, VCC Holdings, and Zego Studio.
The play-to-earn business model is the latest development in the games industry. As a consequence, its venture funding landscape is still very early. On average, $9M is raised by a project building around the play-to-earn business model, compared to $17M for gaming companies, and $20M for the industry overall.
73%+ of the rounds were earlier than Series A, and since September, more than 85% of the fundraises have been Seed rounds.
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Geographically, the play-to-earn phenomenon in NFT gaming has no home. Data makes it clear though, South-East Asia is a major play-to-earn hub with more than $180M raised 11 rounds publicly announced. Warena ($1.5M), HeroVerse, Heroes & Empires ($1.5M), and Kawaii Islands ($2.4M) are some examples of Vietnamese play-to-earn gaming companies that recently received funding.
Interestingly, a whole funding ecosystem is being built around play-to-earn, which tends to be more than another crypto buzzword. Yield Guild Games, which raised more than $9.9M in 2021, invested in several play-to-earn gaming companies such as Illuvium ($5M), Bright Star Studios ($2M), and Splinterlands ($3.6M). Another example is DeFi Alliance launching a dedicated Web3 gaming accelerator.
Last week 29 projects announced fundraising rounds:
Treeverse | A sci-fi and fantasy-based MMORPG — with participation from IDEO Colab Ventures, Animoca Brands, SkyVision Capital, Stani Kulechov, and others.
Elpis Global ($2.15M) | A turn-based RPG NFT Game implemented on Binance Smart Chain network, which is developed by 2 top games studios in Southeast Asia — with participation from Hashed, HyperChain Capital, Kyber Network, Signum Capital, DeFi Capital, FOMOCraft Ventures, Coin98 Ventures, SotaTek, Kyros Ventures, Avocado Guild, VCC Holdings, and Zego Studio.
OP Games ($8.6M) | Building a platform that combines non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), working with developers to create games that they can collaborate on with their communities — with participation from Mechanism Capital, Ascensive Assets, Republic, Everest Ventures, Polygon Studios, DeFi Alliance, Morningstar Ventures, LD Capital, SevenX Ventures, GFS Ventures, LongHash Ventures, OKEX, 3Commas, Bitcoin.com, Infinity Ventures Crypto, LucidBlue Ventures, Momentum 6, Double Peak, Genblock Capital, Lotus Capital, ExNetwork Capital, and others.
reNFT ($1.5M) | Bringing any asset that has a rentable use case whether in the digital or physical realm on-chain as an NFT for trustless, secure, and quick rentability — with participation from Animoca Brands, Lattice Capital, Play Future Fund, MetaCartel Ventures, Scalar Capital, LongHash Ventures, SkyVision Capital, Fedora Capital, Maeve Ventures, Gabby Dizon, Sébastien Borget, Bharat Krymo, Eric Arsenault, and Ben Lakoff.
Cradles ($1.2M) | The first prehistoric blockchain game, which introduces the time and entropy system, making the real-world time and space rules born in the game for the first time — with participation from Sfermion, Spartan Group, Huobi Capital, LD Capital, Signum Capital, Animoca Brands, Republic Realm, Israeli Blockchain Association, DWeb3 Capital, YouBi Capital, D1 Ventures, Sandeep Nailwal, Michael Kam, Jeremy Ong, Suji Yan, Kieran Warwick, and Harsh Rajat.
Chingari ($19M) | Short-video sharing platform — with participation from Galaxy Digital, Republic, Solana Capital, Kraken, and Alameda Research.
Pontoon ($3.2M) | One-click liquidity mirroring across ETH, BSC, HECO Chain, xDAI, Polygon, Optimism, with incentivized relayer network and liquidity mining for liquidity providers across the chains — with participation from Draper Dragon, Black Edge Capital, Morningstar Ventures, Amesten Capital, X21 Digital, Genblock Capital, and ExNetwork Capital.
GooseFX ($4.5M) | A full suite DeFi platform to trade crypto, tokenized stocks, NFTs, and liquidity providing built on Solana and Serum DEX — with participation from CoinShares, Bixin Ventures, SkyVision Capital, Animoca Brands, KuCoin Labs, Solana Capital, GSR, Solana Ecosystem Fund, Double Peak, Crown, Darkpool Liquidity, Halborn, Definitive Capital, 6K Starter, OIG Investment Group, MXC Exchange, Genblock Capital, DWeb3 Capital, Gate.io, andSignal Ventures.
Merit Circle ($4.5M) | Building a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) with a mission to maximize value accrual across different games in the metaverse — with participation from DeFiance Capital, Mechanism Capital, Spartan Group, Digital Currency Group, Maven 11 Capital, OP Crypto, Dialectic Capital, CitizenX Crypto Ventures, Yield Guild Games, Bitscale Capital, Jiho Zirlin, Alex Svanevik, Isaac Lidsky, Richard Ma, gmoneyNFT, Kieran Warwick, Danny Wilson, Kristaps Vaivods, Tin Nguyen, Ryan Berkun, Calvin Chu, Bobby Ong, Piers Kicks, and Sergei Chan.
Stader Labs ($4M) | Aggregates decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and applications into a simplified staking solution for delegators in a bid to maximize their returns — with participation from Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures, True Ventures, Solana Foundation, Hypersphere Ventures, LedgerPrime, Huobi Capital, Jump Capital, and Terraform Capital.
Tinyman ($2.5M) | A decentralized trading protocol which utilizes the fast and secure framework of the Algorand blockchain, creating an open and safe marketplace for traders, liquidity providers, and developers — with participation from Borderless Capital, Arrington XRP Capital, The LAO, Genesis Capital, Digital Currency Group, Blocktower Capital, and GoldenTree Asset Management.
DareNFT ($2.4M) | The universal NFT 2.0 protocol for Digital Assets — with participation from Magnus Capital, Kyber Network, Lua Ventures, AU21 Capital, Basics Capital, Momentum 6, X21 Digital, Cosmos Gaming Hub, OneSoft, IceTea Labs, Moonwhale Ventures, ZBS Capital, BSCStation, Kardia Ventures, CryptoDiffer, Genesis Builders, Mandy ICO Research, Black Mamba Ventures, VBC Ventures, K300 Ventures, BMW Capital, and others.
CoinSwitch Kuber ($260M) | Fastest growing crypto exchange in India hitting 1 Million users in 7 months — with participation from Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, and Sequoia Capital.
BitOasis ($30M) | The largest, most secure, and most liquid digital asset exchange in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region — with participation from Jump Capital, Wamda Capital, Alameda Research, Global Founders Capital, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, and NXMH.
Strips Finance ($8.5M) | A global decentralized fixed-income trading platform— with participation from Multicoin Capital, Sequoia Capital, Fabric Ventures, Morningstar Ventures, Apollo Capital, Rarestone Capital, Woo Network, Kronos Research, SevenX Ventures, LD Capital, OKEX, Efficient Frontier, Digital Strategies, MetaCartel Ventures, and Follow[the]Seed.
Art Blocks ($6M) | Unique iterations of generative works hosted immutably on the Ethereum Blockchain — with participation from True Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Collab+Currency, Libertus Capital, FlamingoDAO, and The LAO.
PowerLoom ($3.1M) | Aggregates on-chain and off-chain data to generate snapshots with cryptographic proofs in a decentralized manner — with participation from Protocol Labs, Blockchain Capital, Fenbushi Capital, CMS Holdings, Altonomy, AU21 Capital, The LAO, YouBi Capital, Privcode Capital, Divergence Ventures, Double Peak, LongHash Ventures, Ash Egan, Stani Kulechov, Sandeep Nailwal, Danny Zuckerman, Alan Curtis, Caleb Parker, Siddhartha Jain, Regan Bozman, Aniket Jindal, Ajit Tripathi, Richard Dai, Keyur Shah, and Nirbhik Jangid.
Easy Crypto ($11.75M) | A cryptocurrency exchange that offers no custodial services. Customers are fully in control of their own assets at all times, creating no exposure risk — with participation from Even Capital, GDP Venture, Hutt Capital, Icehouse Ventures, Nuance Capital, Pathfinder Asset Management, and Seven Peaks Ventures.
THORSwap ($3.75M) | World's #1 multi-chain DEX built on THORChain — with participation from IDEO Colab Ventures, Sanctor Capital, THORchain, True Ventures, Nine Realms, 0x Ventures, Qi Capital, and Proof Group.
Manifold | Enables web3 creators to have true creative ownership, preserve on-chain provenance, and interoperate with all major NFT marketplaces — with participation from Initialized Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and others.
Warena ($1.5M) | The first personalized and Play to Earn NFT metaverse game — with participation from Genesis Builders, DAO Maker, Momentum 6, Master Ventures, Animoca Brands, Clovers Ventures, and Infinity Capital.
Hex Trust ($10M) | Platform to access liquidity providers, exchanges, and lending & staking platforms, which allows custody clients to seamlessly access third-party services while holding assets in a highly secure and regulated platform — with participation from Token Bay Capital, Animoca Brands, Tessera Capital Partners, Mind Fund, BCW Group, Algorand Asia Accelerator, and Ripple.
Hodl Hodl | Global P2P Bitcoin trading platform that doesn’t hold funds — with participation from XBTO Ventures, Kingsway Capital, TEN31, and Samson Mow.
Ramp ($30M) | Offering an SDK/APIs suite that lets your users buy crypto straight from your app — with participation from Balderton Capital.
Ojamu ($1.7M) | Enables brands to reach their marketing goals with data-driven predictions across all digital channels — with participation from Ascensive Assets, A195 Capital, Master Ventures, Morningstar Ventures, Moonrock Capital, Protocol Ventures, GBV Capital, X21 Digital, Chain Capital, Waterdrip Capital, Vendetta Capital, and Rarestone Capital.
Sky Mavis ($152M) | A technology-focused game studio — with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Paradigm, Accel, FTX, Seven Seven Six, SamsungNext, Fabric Ventures, Standard Crypto, Rainfall, Cultur3 Capital, Not Boring Capital, Backed, VaynerFund, 500 Vietnam, DIGITAL, and SNÖ.
Bizzit | Biz-tech built for you, not teams (yet), to automate your weekly biz opportunities
Spellfire ($360k) | A legendary card-based NFT game powered by Ethereum. — with participation from Terranova, Autonomy Capital, and X21 Digital.
Crypto Bank | A banking, storage, payments & trading system combines Crypto & Fiat
We have also added the following investors: Digistrats, Firefi Capital, FT Ventures, Fedora Capital, DEC Ventures, Onebit Ventures, Vitex Capital, Migoi Crypto, Lua Ventures, and many angels.
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