A16z will assist Filipino-led Yield Guild Games to establish blockchain-based play-to-earn as the next major innovation in gaming and dominant business model within the industry.
Yield Guild Games (YGG), a decentralized gaming guild of players and investors who generate yields from NFT-based games, announced today it has raised $4.6M (P231.7M) investment led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The round, which was finalized 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 48,000 gamers, with more than half of the members residing in the Philippines. As a provider of scholarships to the game Axie Infinity, YGG’s player base can borrow its yield-generating in-game assets under a revenue-sharing model, so they can begin earning an income from playing NFT games without having to invest any money upfront. To date, YGG has 4,700 scholars, over 2500 of whom are Filipinos, in the game Axie Infinity that have earned over 43M SLP (US $8.6M).
“The intersection of crypto and gaming is one of the most exciting areas in tech today,” said Arianna Simpson, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “YGG is at the center of play-to-earn, a new model that marks a meaningful evolution in gaming economies, where more of the value is retained by the players and community, rather than the gaming platforms. Thanks to the vision and dedication of the YGG team, this paradigm shift is growing quickly –– yet we think we’re just starting to glimpse what’s possible in this realm. We’re thrilled to partner with YGG to support the community and help accelerate the adoption of play-to-earn games.”
With Filipino co-founders Gabby Dizon and Beryl Li, this is the first time a16z has invested in a Filipino-led startup. Dizon brings over two decades of experience in the gaming industry, while fintech entrepreneur Li was on the founding team at Philippine crypto exchange Coins.ph, acquired by GoJek in 2018. A third co-founder, Owl of Moistness, is a smart contract developer with experience building Axie Infinity breeding algorithms and bots to integrate NFTs in Discord.
“A16z delivers incredible value to help entrepreneurs achieve their vision and Beryl and I are humbled to be the first Filipino founders to receive their wholehearted backing,” said Gabby Dizon, co-founder of YGG. “Most importantly, a16z has proven to be unphased by the ups and downs of crypto cycles, instead of maintaining a long-term view to focus on technology and innovation, which is what we need in a partner to help us scale the narrative and impact of play-to-earn.”