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Local Gaming Startup Raises P193.6 Million in Series A Funding

The company is spearheading the “future of work.”
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Filipino startup Yield Guild Games announced that it has secured $4 million (about P193.6 million) in a Series A investment round on Wednesday (June 16). The company said the funding round was led by BITKRAFT Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on gaming, esports, and interactive media and participated in by incoming investors including A.Capital Ventures, IDEO CoLab, Mechanism Capital, and ParaFi Capital, among others, as well as existing investors including Animoca Brands, Ascensive Assets, and SevenX Ventures.  

Others joining the funding round were angel investors including GGWP Co-Founder and CEO, Dennis Fong, G2 Esports CEO and Founder, Carlos Rodriguez, Sky Mavis CEO, Trung Nguyen, and Sky Mavis Co-Founder, Jiho Zirlin. 

Counting a seed round investment of $1.3 million (P62.9 million) announced last March, YGG has now raised a total of $5.3 million (P256.3 million).

The company said the funds will be used to invest in NFT assets of play-to-earn games and expand the YGG network by acquiring more players from around the world.

What is Yield Guild Games

YGG is a Filipino startup built around a group of people who believe in the play-to-earn business model; that is, rewarding gamers with actual, real-world money simply by playing games. The company was founded in 2020 by Beryl Li and Gabby Dizon. 

A relatively recent trend, play-to-earn offers a way for people to earn income as they play games, usually through cryptocurrencies or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In a game like Axie Infinity, for example, which is currently one of the most popular play-to-earn games, players can breed and battle digital pets called Axies and then go on daily quests, adventures, and arenas to earn an in-game item called a Small Love Potion or SLP. Gather enough of these SLPs, (which are NFTs), and players can then sell them in markets like Binance or Uniswap. 

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YGG, in turn, is on a mission to promote and accelerate this burgeoning “play-to-earn” phenomenon. As a player community, the company invests in NFT assets in different games across the ecosystem and lends these assets out to its community of gamers to make it possible to earn an income from playing games.  

The concept has been proven in rural communities in the Philippines, particularly in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, where some residents have discovered Axie Infinity and have started earning a decent living by playing the game. The phenomenon was covered extensively in a mini-documentary called Play-to-Earn: NFT Gaming in the Philippines on YouTube. 

At its core, YGG is a community of play-to-earn gamers,” Dizon said in the news release. “Think of it as a massively multiplayer online (MMO) guild, for example, but operating across several games, investing in yield-generating NFTs within those games, and lending those in-game assets and inventory out to our player base.”

“Games and virtual worlds are increasingly becoming hosts of real economic activity, enabled and accelerated at scale through blockchain technology,” said Jens Hilgers, founding partner at Bitkraft Ventures. “Yield Guild is serving as a catalyst to this transition with very forward-looking concepts around the novel play-to-earn game model. What Gabby and his team are building, the web 3 infrastructure stack they've assembled, is a glimpse at the future of work.

Bitkraft also recently announced a strategic partnership with blockchain advisory firm Delphi Digital “to help identify the most exciting investment opportunities at the intersection of crypto and gaming.” 

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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