Lerer Hippeau
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Lerer Hippeau

Please welcome Nifty League, a competitive P2E gaming studio and community

Meet Nifty League, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Remote

Founders: Nifty Andy, Nifty Spike, Snarfy

The problem: Gaming is growing — as a social, engaging, and empowering medium. Indeed, the global gaming market is estimated to be worth over half a trillion dollars by 2028 (more than tripling its current value of approximately $173B as of 2021). Monetization opportunities have existed for gamers for decades, but they’re only going to expand as the market grows as well. As games get more sophisticated and in-game purchasing options proliferate (including things like purchasing digital “skins,” incentives to level-up in game play, etc.), play-to-earn (P2E) games will create even more opportunities and incentive structures. NFTs often gate entry to these games, but they’re expensive and don’t allow room for trial of new games or mass participation. Costs need to come down, and games need to be social, engaging, and empowering to their creator communities. To date, early play-to-earn games have often left gamers unimpressed with simple, unsophisticated options, and legacy gaming companies are years away from entering the market.

Nifty League’s solution: Nifty League is building the premier modern gaming ecosystem and metaverse. Their first forays into the “NiftyVerse” use their “DEGEN” NFT collection and free-to-play Nifty Smashers arcade-style brawler game — all built on Ethereum. The NiftyVerse aims to contain games that are skill-based and ripe for monetization among the community. Though all users need a DEGEN NFT to play in the NiftyVerse at present, players will eventually be able to rent out their characters and be incentivized with the $NFTL token for sharing — enabling new players to enter the NiftyVerse at a much more affordable price point. The public can check out Nifty League’s ambitious public roadmap here, where they outline plans for mini games, a mobile app, comics to accompany games, and more.

Origin story: The Nifty League team has deep expertise in the gaming world, with co-founders Nifty Andy and Snarfy coming from Activision Blizzard and Nifty Spike having a strong track record in animation. They’re native to gaming, which has already proven critical to their early success. We caught wind of what they were building after seeing the success of several public launches from their team, and we’re excited to partner with Nifty Andy, Snarfy, and Nifty Spike as they venture deeper into the metaverse and Web3 gaming space.

Why we’re betting on it: The team has already proven they can innovate quickly and build alongside their community, as they’ve launched a number of new activations in the span of a few months (their “Mint-O-Matic” minting experience, collectible comics, DGEN NFT gaming animated highlights network, and the announcement of the Nifty Tennis mini-game). Their early traction is strong (the market cap of their $NFTL token is up 200% since launching in October 2021), but more important, players love the games and the community is enthusiastic and passionate. Nifty League’s player-forward approach and nimble team are well positioned to build with and for their most engaged users.

Our take: More folks among the next generation of consumers will be gamers — casual, social, or competitive — and we’ll all be spending more time in the metaverse over the next decade. Nifty League will be at the center of gameplay and a destination for consumers to spend more time online. We’re thrilled to be a part of their journey to make Web3 more accessible to all in a way that’s engaging and player-led.

Further reading:Nifty League Raises $5 Million Seed Investment Round Led by RSE Ventures to Expand its NFT Gaming Metaverse” via Nifty League

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Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.