Andreessen Horowitz doubles down on Seattle blockchain game startup, leads $40M round

(Photo by Irreverent Labs)

The news: Silicon Valley heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz invests more money Irreverent Laboratories. The investment firm led a $40 million round for the Seattle startup building a blockchain-based fighting game that pits chicken fighters against each other.

The details: Andreessen led a $5 million seed round just seven months ago. “We are increasing now because [Andreessen] saw no reason to wait based on our overall traction,” Irreverent Labs CEO Rahul Sood told GeekWire.

The game: MechaFightClub is a “cruelty-free” online fighting game that combines emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and NFTs. Players can trade, sell and use fighters known as “mechabots” which are each unique and live on the Solana blockchain. The game uses a gaming ecosystem to earn with its blockchain currency called nuggets. Players can use nuggets to make in-game purchases or withdraw them for use on the larger Solana blockchain.

“Players will soon realize that having ownership of in-game characters and building a relationship with that character over time is actually a very good thing,” Sood previously said.

Irreverent Labs co-founders Rahul Sood (left) and David Raskino. (Photo by Irreverent Labs)

The leaders: Sood previously co-founded sports betting startup Unikrn, which was acquired last year, and led Microsoft’s venture capital arm. Co-founder David Raskino helped lead the venture capital fund with Sood and most recently oversaw a new security team at Microsoft.

And after: The game is expected to launch later this year. The company already has more than 35,000 registered users. “Our Discord is thriving and we spent $0 on marketing. That’s all organic growth,” Sood said. He said revenue is expected in July.

Investors : The 17-person company has added notable investors including Solana Ventures, the VC arm of Solana Labs; Michael Ovitz, founder of Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Sonam Kapoor, a Bollywood star; and Infinity Ventures Crypto. Existing backers have also invested, including Mantis VC, Keen Crypto, Unlock Venture Partners and Advancit Capital.

“For all its lighthearted fun, Irreverent Labs is a deep tech company building cutting-edge technology on top of a futuristic cockfighting mecha game,” Arianna Simpson, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement. .

Andreessen has funded at least 50 crypto startups as part of a huge bet on the emerging sectorand would be seeks to raise $4.5 billion for new crypto investments.

Last word: Irreverent Labs is among a gaggle of fledgling blockchain startups that raised a record $25.2 billion last year, up 713% year-over-year, according to CBInsights. There are also several fast-growing blockchain gaming startups such as Axie Infinity. Irreverent Labs will have to convince mainstream gamers that layering technologies like NFTs will enhance the gaming experience – and build a business by doing so. He now has plenty of money to get started.

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