Yield Guild Games
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Yield Guild Games

YGG Raises $4.6M Led By a16z to Accelerate Play-to-Earn

Yield Guild Games (YGG) is proud to announce a $4.6M financing round led by venture capital (VC) firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z. The round, which was finalised prior to the YGG token sale on July 27, was joined by Kingsway Capital, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Atelier Ventures, and gaming entrepreneur Gabriel Leydon.

The funding will be used to continue YGG’s investment in digital assets in games and virtual worlds across the play-to-earn ecosystem, while expanding its global community of over 45,000 gamers.

Onboarding partners such as a16z will assist YGG in scaling its mission and impact, while establishing play-to-earn as the next major innovation in gaming and dominant business model within the industry. The long term nature of the partnership is reflected in four-year deal terms (two years lock up period with another two year vesting) for a16z’s purchase of YGG tokens.

PARTNERS IN PLAY-TO-EARN

In a recent CNBC interview, a16z General Partner, Arianna Simpson, spoke about some of the less obvious areas that a16z is investing in. In terms of the greatest growth to come from crypto over the next five years, Arianna said she was most excited about the use case for play-to-earn games, as they allow players to:

  • have ownership in the games they play;
  • generate revenue from the time and effort they spend in those games;
  • and ultimately, build themselves a better life.

For Arianna, this is in alignment with many of the core principles and values that underpin crypto’s ethos. For this reason, she is confident that NFT gaming is poised to onboard billions of new crypto users.

A16z recognises the largely untapped economic opportunity present in emerging markets and the immense potential to provide jobs in the metaverse. The intersection of crypto and gaming is already redefining what a “job” looks like within the digital economy, with many people around the world seen to be able to earn a legitimate income from playing NFT games.

As a provider of scholarships, YGG is providing pathways for players to access the life-changing opportunities presented by play-to-earn gaming where the high cost of NFTs was previously a barrier. With 4,700 scholars and over 43M SLP (US $8.6M) earned, Arianna referenced YGG scholarships as an example of how crypto is having a positive impact on the world.

Read this a16z blog post to understand more about their motivations to invest in YGG.

OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL

Through NFT games, YGG is reducing barriers to economic opportunity, so that anyone from anywhere around the world can have equal access.

In a recent piece for Future, a website from a16z that explores how technology is transforming our world, a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen outlined the significance of “permanently divorcing physical location from economic opportunity” in order to provide more people with better ways to make a living.

The ripple effects of this have been felt by YGG’s founders, too. With Filipino co-founders Gabby Dizon and Beryl Li, this is the first time a16z has invested in a Filipino-led startup (a third co-founder, Owl of Moistness, is anonymous). Through its partnership with a16z and other powerful VC investors, YGG is equipped with the best resources the world has to offer an early-stage, high potential startup. And the team were able to complete the deal without ever leaving their home in the Philippines.

The effects of COVID-19 are largely to thank for this. The world is now much more open to using remote communication technologies in order to connect meaningfully with others, build relationships, and conduct business. Especially within the crypto sphere, there is a strong culture of virtual collaboration, with many friends, collaborators and colleagues having never seen others’ real faces beyond their NFT avatars, let alone met IRL.

This openness to new modes of online interaction has made it possible for founders from all corners of the world to showcase their talent and vision on a global stage, no matter where they hail from.

This represents a seismic shift in terms of long-held beliefs about who gets access to opportunity and how. In decades past, it was generally accepted that founders must relocate to Silicon Valley if they want to secure the right capital, the best partners, the top talent, and so on. Even within Southeast Asia, it’s been essential for entrepreneurs to travel to business hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, if they were truly serious about advancing their business.

As a Filipino-led startup, with a globally-relevant solution that originally found its footing in the Philippines, that now has the support of the world’s most formidable VCs — it’s a first.

YGG Co-Founders: Beryl Li, Gabby Dizon, and Owl of Moistness.

EARLY CRYPTO BELIEVERS

Founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz (known as “a16z”) is a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, California. The firm is known for its early bets on companies that are household names today: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Airbnb, Lyft, Stripe, Github, the list goes on.

A16z has also been an early backer of crypto ventures. The firm invested in Coinbase back in 2013, and more recently, it funded high potential NFT startups including Dapper Labs, OpenSea, and of course, YGG.

In June 2021, a16z announced a $2.2 billion fund earmarked specifically for investments in blockchain and digital asset startups — the firm’s largest-ever vertical-specific fund. Katie Haun and Chris Dixon, partners who run a16z’s cryptocurrency group, said they are “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential” and they believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto, after the internet.

This is a16z’s third crypto-focused fund, and to put the size of it into perspective, their first two were worth about $800 million combined. The original fund was launched three years ago, during the last bear market now known as “crypto winter.” As such, a16z has proven to be unphased by the ups and downs of crypto cycles, instead maintaining a long-term view to focus on driving technology and innovation.

Today, there is no bigger crypto VC in the world and with a multi-billion dollar crypto fund to deploy, the startups that a16z invests in today are the game-changers of tomorrow.

For more information about YGG, read the YGG whitepaper here. Join the YGG Discord or follow us on Twitter for future updates.

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