- Animoca Brands has been one of the leading Web3 VC firms over the last two years.
- Its founder Yat Siu spoke to TechCrunch revealing how it all started and where it’s going.
- The Hong Kong-based blockchain and Gamefi investor’s current holdings are valued at about $16 billion.
Whenever you read about multi-million funding rounds within the Web3 and Gamefi markets, Animoca Brands is often among the main participants if not a co-lead. Some of its recent involvements include the Petaverse gaming project Dogami and the metaverse commerce project SPACE.
The Hong-Kong based venture capital firm has grown from a little known game software developer to a gigantic venture capital firm with holdings worth billions.
It all started when Animoca was in the process of buying a company called Fuel Powered, a Feature-as-a-Service club-based platform that helps mobile games to maximize their earnings, Yat Siu the founder of Animoca Brands told TechCrunch in an interview.
At the time, Fuel Powered shared an office with a venture studio Axiom Zen, the creators of CryptoKitties. Siu was alerted about the blockchain project by Fuel Powered’s cofounder founder, Mikhael Naayem while advising Axiom’s founder, Rohan Gharegozlou.
It was from this point that Animoca Brands began making strides in the blockchain and GameFi space. The firm inked a deal with Axiom Zen, agreeing to exclusively licence, distribute and publish the popular CryptoKitties collection.
From there on, things began to fall into place, with Naayem and Gharegozlou collaborating to launch Dapper Labs, which immediately attracted backing from Animoca Brands. Dapper Labs is now a popular blockchain project and the ecosystem behind the NFT marketplace, “NBA Top Shot”.
However, not everything has been smooth for the top VC from Hong Kong. Animoca used to be a listed company on the Australian Stock exchange. However, it was delisted due to its line of business, cryptocurrencies.
In a more recent drawback, Animoca’s subsidiary platform for minting sports NFTs suffered a security breach, with hackers disappearing with $18.7 million worth in tokens. The token price of the subsidiary plunged by 92% on Monday.
But Siu thinks that the emerging world of NFTs and blockchain gaming believes that it is just part of the risk of new technologies trying to bed into the market. The group executive chairman and managing director of Animoca remains a staunch supporter of Web3 despite the challenges the industry continued to face in the nascent stages.
In a response regarding the practicability of implementing the new iteration of the web in organizations, Siu said “we’re not asking that users are all visionaries,” answering a question related to Box CEO Aaron Levie’s post on Twitter that claimed decentralisation could hinder innovation. “People will know what is best for them when there’s something to compare against,” Siu added.
The firm is targeting more investments in GameFi projects in 2022, with expansion into DeFi, Lending and Fractionalization protocols also planned.
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