IN WHAT is being called one of the biggest seed rounds in Philippine gaming history, Iloilo-based startup AcadArena has secured $3.5 million (around P176 million) in funding from angel investors that include the founders behind interactive livestream service Twitch and Axie Infinity developers Sky Mavis.
Among the 50 investors who participated in the seed round also include venture capital firms 1KX and Hashed, as well as co-founders from firms as diverse as movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and anime streaming platform Crunchyroll.
“Our team is humbled to be backed by founders who've pioneered the entire industry and validates our mission to students realize their aspirations through games in the Philippines and soon, Southeast Asia as a whole,” said AcadArena co-CEO Kevin Hoang, who, along with Ariane Lim and Justin Banusing, founded the company back in 2019.
AcadArena is known for its focus on grassroots esports, building gaming and esports communities centered around students and the youth in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia. It also provides financial aid and play-to-earn scholarships for student gamers.
It is also one of the partners backing Yield Guild Games, which has been making waves in the crypto scene.
How AcadArena will grow in the future
The startup will use its newly secured funding to grow its campus gaming programs.
The investor capital will also be used to acquire more manpower, play-to-earn assets, products, and partnerships.
Investors see potential in AcadArena’s role in the play-to-earn landscape.
“As play to earn revolutionizes the ownership model of games, we see guilds becoming an increasingly critical part of the emerging metaverse economy,” said 1KX co-founder Lasse Clausen in a statement.
He added, “We believe that player talent, not capital, will be the key resource across play to earn games. Because AcadArena focuses on onboarding universities and student clubs around the world, we believe it is uniquely positioned to become a landmark guild over the coming years.”
With the funding in the bag, this seed round may mark Lim, Hoang, and Banusing as one of the youngest founders in the country to participate in such a landmark seed round in the growing gaming industry.
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